Worth the read-off topic

David Frum has this post in todays The Daily Beast.

"The hard decisions are not not the ones you make in the heat of battle. Far harder to make are those involved in speaking your mind about some hare-brained scheme, which proposes to commit troops to action under conditions where failure is almost certain, and the only results will be the needless sacrifice of precious lives."  -Matthew B. Ridgeway, Memoirs (1956).

At the same time Salon reports on his book, "The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor.”  The header of the piece is:

 Courage and malfeasance in Afghanistan: “Anyone we drop off will die.”  Officers ordered an Afghanistan outpost built knowing it was vulnerable. Then the Taliban arrived and soldiers died

Amazon comments include book:

At 6:00 a.m. on the morning of October 3, 2009, Combat Outpost Keating was viciously attacked by Taliban insurgents. The 53 U.S. troops, having been stationed at the bottom of three steep mountains, were severely outmanned by nearly 400 Taliban fighters. Though the Americans ultimately prevailed, their casualties made it one of the war’s deadliest battles for U.S. forces. And after more than three years in that dangerous and vulnerable valley a mere 14 miles from the Pakistan border, the U.S. 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, D.C. and a war built on constantly shifting sands.

In 2009, in one of the deadliest battles in Afghanistan, Combat Outpost Keating was attacked by Taliban insurgents and nearly destroyed. A Pentagon investigation concluded that the outpost, a poorly located and protected part of a counterinsurgency strategy, should not have been there in the first place. The 53 U.S. troops stationed there were part of an effort to combat extremist groups that sprouted with U.S. support during the Russian occupation. ABC News war correspondent Tapper spent two years chronicling the mission and lives of the troops and their commanders, making the war more personal as readers get to know the troops’ personality quirks, backstories, family lives, and perspectives on their mission.