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Your Opinion: Review of military outpost needed

Your Opinion: Review of military outpost needed

February 18th, 2013 by Bill Burton, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

I read the article in the Feb. 12 issue of the News Tribune and saw the television account of the White House ceremony at which US Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha received the Medal of Honor for his actions at Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan on Oct. 3, 2009.

The recounting of the firefight, the valor of our soldiers and the loss of eight lives and 22 wounded brought tears to my eyes. As I watched the television account I wondered why the outpost had been established in such an indefensible location.

I recently read a review in the WSJ of a book entitled "The Outpost" written by Jake Tapper who served at Outpost Keating and in which he recounts the many battles fought there. I quote from the review "Tapper described the location "as madness," and his superior officer was told "this is a really awful place for a base."

According to Tapper this refrain was repeated as successive officers choppered into the camp to stare upward at the mountains that dominate it on all sides. Tapper lays bare the poor decision making that shattered dozens of lives in the pursuit of an ill-conceived goal.

I wonder if the US Army has conducted a review of the establishment of this outpost and if any commanders have been held responsible the apparent bad planning that resulted in so many lives lost.