The year was 2009, the month and day, October 3. Taliban fighters, almost 400 in number, attacked 53 U.S. troops stationed at Combat Outpost Keating, a small, dangerously located outpost lying at the base of three mountains a few miles from the Pakistan border.
In "The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor Audiobook," journalist Jake Tapper presents the tragic stories of these American fighting men, including many who lost their lives for no clear reason. Victims of the Taliban, they were also victims of the whims of leaders in our nation's capital.
Why were they there? Why did The Outpost exist in that location for that amount of time in the first place? Even the Pentagon agreed they should never have been located there from the start.
Still, overrun by enemy forces who outnumbered them eight times over, these brave men stood up against the forces of evil and once again, defined the meaning of American courage, American heroism, and American valor.
Many will never know home again, nor will their families hug or hold them once more; however, because of Tapper's important investigative work, their story will be told, and their memories will live on. Maybe, too, some future repetition of needless, senseless slaughter can be avoided.
Despite his telling his superior that the location where a base camp is to be built, the observations of one young intelligence officer are ignored as officers continue to build a camp where no camp should be built.
The Outpost itself becomes the chief protagonist in the story. The audiobook follows the lives of people who try to exist and survive there from 2006-2009. Story lines jump from heavy description of battles and attacks, interactions among leaders and the men they direct, and insights into the soldiers, their families and their lives back home.
The work gives an inside look into the workings of the military, up close and personal, without sugar coating. It exposes faults in the way military intelligence is gathered, interpreted, and acted upon. Sometimes, the blind do lead the blind; higher-ups do not stop and think; rules and procedures exist that do little more than set our soldiers up for failure -- failure that comes with a hefty price tag. Lives are lost for no reason, but generals keep their upper hand and go about the business of being generals.
About the author:
ABC News' senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper has led Emmy Award-winning news shows since being in that position. He has widely covered the elections of President Obama.
His work appears on "Good Morning, America," "Nightline" and "World News with Diane Sawyer" on a regular basis.
At 5:58 a.m. on the morning of October 3, 2009, Combat Outpost Keating was viciously attacked by Taliban insurgents. The 53 US troops, having been stationed at the bottom of three steep mountains, were severely outmanned by nearly four hundred Taliban fighters. Though the Americans ultimately prevailed, their casualties made it one of the war’s deadliest battles for US forces. And after more than three years in that dangerous and vulnerable valley a mere fourteen miles from the Pakistan border, the US abandoned and bombed the camp. A Pentagon investigation later concluded that there was no reason for Outpost Keating to have been there in the first place.
The Outpost is a tour de force of investigative journalism. Jake Tapper exposes the origins of this tragic and confounding story, exploring the history of the camp and detailing the stories of soldiers heroic and doomed, shadowed by the recklessness of their commanders in Washington, DC, and a war built on constantly shifting sands.
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