This book tells the stories of our young people, that were sent to remote outposts in Afghanistan, so remote that not only were they undefensable, but they couldnt even get regular shipments of supplies. Sometimes they were lacking even in that most basic of necessity-dinking water. While it was said that the US would not take "half measures", this war in Afghanistan clearly became an afterthought, once the main show got underway in Iraq. It was a half measure from the beginning. These soldiers are fighting the very people who attacked the World Trade Center, yet the main interest was in Iraq. They were spread out so thinly that they could not get any momentum. A unified strategy and Intelligence are clearly lacking. Most of the time they dont even know who they are fighting. They recognize the enemy as foreigners, who come in through Pakistan. Interpreters dont understand the language the fighters speak. This is the very obvious theme of the book- young soldiers sent to fight a war that wasnt the center of attention for the military and government leaders. For me, Another theme became quite obvious. The management structure of our military is antiquated. High level officers have completely free reign to do whatever they want, with absolutely no oversight. Generals can plan missions for a purpose that seems to be to decorate the pages of their year end review, or just to show they are a hardass (at least an armchair). One mission is focused on in detail, to send a large truck to a remote outpost on roads that could barely support a humvee, in an area swarming with fighters, for the purpose as the General says, to show it could be done. Two people died after the road caves in and the truck goes off the edge. One of the dead was an officer of particular high promise, who died attempting to demonstrate a large truck could be driven on mountain roads made for horse-drawn buggys. Prior to the mission, lower level officers who actually had experiece on the ground in Afghanistan, tried to explain the risk of the mission to the general who came up with the idea. The general turned and walked away, rather than to have a serious discussion of his underling's concerns. If this happened in a Fortune 500 company, there would be serious repercussions. The military treats these soldiers as expendables, which not only is a moral outrage, but will be the downfall of our military, as soldiers realize they are expendible, and despite their obvious expertise gained from on the ground experience, their ieas count for nothing. We will lose the best and brightest, the truly heroic, as they are either killed, maimed, suffer from mental illness, or become so disheartened that they decide the military is not the place for them. Corporate management in this country has been transformed into an enlightened syle of management over the past 30 years, where people's opinions are considered based on merit, regardless of rank. The open door policy is commonplace, where management cannot simply turn away whenever underlings want to discuss the merits of a planned action. And most important, the oversight of managers comes both from the bottom up and the top down. In the military it seems the high level officers have an unspoken policy of agreeing not to critique each other's performance. With this antiquated management structure in the military, and the ability of a loose cannon president to do what Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld did, to engage in warS with no serious critical oversight, with forward movement fueled purely by the momentum of a heavily politicized foreign policy. It seems to me that if things dont change drastically, this country has the potential to decay just like the Roman empire. This is Vietnam all over again. There is no clear mission. Our young people are sent to remote areas of Afghanistan, to hang out, and serve as targets for the radical muslims of any number of countries. When a persons tour is up, there is no mechanism to capture his learnings. There is no review of the disasters, no attempt to install corective measures, based on the learnings from a study of our mistakes. We always end up being the policemen. We will stay there, suffering the casualites, the deaths, and the injures, the wounds that cannot be seen - mental illness. Eventually it will end just as it does time and time again. We will decide its not worth it. We will leave, and Afghanistan will once again go its own way. I am so sad to see once again, the lives of our young heroes squandered needlessly.
This book does a good job of illustrating the issues US forces face in Afghanistan and why our mission there seems to have gotten nowhere. It also does a good job of illustrating the valor of the US warrior.
Sebastian Younger's War. I think The Outpost and War compliment each other nicely. The Outpost does a better job of illustrating the challenges US troops face while War does a very nice job of enlightening the reader to the psychology of why individual combat troops are willing to do what they do.
First time I've heard Shapiro. He does a good job.
Although the death of every soldier in the book was moving, I found the stories of the effect on their families particularly wrenching.
Kudos to Jake Tapper on a great piece of work. This book gives what appears to be an honest account of the activities of the outpost and the challenges our soldiers face. Some successes and the failures of leadership in the field, in theater and all the way up to D.C. (The Bush and the Obama administrations) Dont look for a feel good story or a praising or bashing of anyone's agendas, just an honest look at what some of our troops faced on our behalf. Typical Tapper, tough, straightforward and honest. This book should be read by every adult American, especially those who find they want to express opinions on the War in Afghanistan or vote one way or the other based on wars and their outcomes. It may or may not change your mind one way or the other about that war. It will certainly enlighten you to the issues and challenges faced by those who we send there on our behalf. It will also make you think about our decision making process for sending troops into harms way.
I can see why a nation needs to pay for the wars they fight and not charge it to the next generation. If we were feeling the financial cost of this war we would be more focused on the real cost and tragedy of losing so many great young men and women. I hope our President and the congress read this book!
Profanity and violence are abundant but they are appropriate considering the situation and dialogue.I felt Trapper revealed a little too much prejudice against religions and the powerful influence for good they are in the military. I especially take issue with his inaccurate portrayal of the LDS Church's stand on war and the military.
I think it was the writing.
Any book about American Heros I am all for. However this one was not for me.
I was over in the Gulf twice. I only met a couple of what I would call complainers. I toned this down for this review. I met thousands of military members that were proud of the job and the reason we were there. And to all the complaners over there in the military you were not drafted. I believe this book reflects a negitive view on thier mission.
No. The approach is too repetative a treatment of the losses.
Maybe. Depends on the subject.
Don't think so.