Today’s cuppa: comforting cup of tea

ABC News senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper recently released a nonfiction book called “The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor.” Here’s the description as posted online:
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.


The book is already getting good reviews, including this one, which includes a quote from the book from a young man from Maine who, after his death in Afghanistan, had Combat Outpost Keating named after him:
As First Lieutenant Keating writes in a letter to his father, “I am continually rewarded when I see eighteen-year-old boys bear up under pressure and carry themselves with the newfound pride of men. They fully understand that they are the face of America in the world.”

Today, Tapper, an avid user of Twitter, memorialized Lt. Keating, 27. Here’s what he had to say @JakeTapper
6 years ago today, a respected young lieutenant from Maine named Benjamin Keating died in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan. R.I.P.

if you’ll forgive me, i’m going to tell you just a few things about Ben Keating. He was the son of ministers + was very devout.

as a kid he loved the David Cook Picture Bible, esp. the stories of King David and the tale of Jesus’ washing the feet of his disciples

Lt. Keating was headstrong with his superior officers, beloved by his enlisted men. Hated being promoted away from his platoon.

President of UNH Young Republicans, Keating enlisted bc he thought some day he’d be a senator and could be voting to send troops into battle

He died because of the difficult terrain in Afghanistan, and an assignment he took on because he didnt want to risk anyone else’s life. RIP

Here’s Benjamin Keating’s final resting place >

(below is a photo from the link Tapper supplied)


Apparently, Lt. Keating (click here for his obituary) brought a Latin copy of the “Confessions” of St. Augustine along with him to Afghanistan. Born in in what is now Algeria — but then was part of Roman Africa — in the year 354, Augustine of Hippo was the son of a pagan father and a Christian mother, Monica. 
Through his early hedonism and later philosophical and spiritual wandering, Augustine’s mother ceaselessly prayed that he should embrace her faith. Obviously, she was ultimately successful, her unwavering faith and strength ultimately earning her the title of  St. Monica. In contrast, Keating, the son of Baptist ministers, never seems to have strayed from his faith.
In this excerpt from “Confessions,” Augustine (accompanied by his son, Adeodatus, who later died at 16), discusses the death of his mother:
29. I closed her eyes; and there flowed in a great sadness on my heart and it was passing into tears, when at the strong behest of my mind my eyes sucked back the fountain dry, and sorrow was in me like a convulsion. As soon as she breathed her last, the boy Adeodatus burst out wailing; but he was checked by us all, and became quiet. Likewise, my own childish feeling which was, through the youthful voice of my heart, seeking escape in tears, was held back and silenced. For we did not consider it fitting to celebrate that death with tearful wails and groanings. This is the way those who die unhappy or are altogether dead are usually mourned. But she neither died unhappy nor did she altogether die. For of this we were assured by the witness of her good life, her “faith unfeigned,” and other manifest evidence.
Posted by:Kate O'Hare