Touching down at COP Keating, March 2009
The battle of Kamdesh on October 3, 2009 is the focus of this week's upcoming column -- specifically, the Pentagon's reported decision to punish mid-level commanders for intelligence failures that preceded the brutal battle that left eight Americans dead. According to an investigation, commanders ignored local intelligence indicating that a large attack against COP Keating was likely andfailed to take appropriate defensive measures.
That may be. But why was a small US outpost in Kamdesh in the first place? And, if there, why was it based for three years in an indefensible position? The real blame for the battle of Kamdesh lies with the military brass behind this fatally pointless and needlessly dangerous mission. Before deciding whether you agree, watch the below video of the base and battle site, COP Keating, taken last summer by Britain's News 4 photographer Stuart Webb (via Burnpit, which has more Keating video.)
If anyone should be punished for " intelligence failures" it is the person(s) responsible for choosing the site for COP Keating, keeping it open and failing to close it. Throw in the chief brain surgeons who came up with Keating's mission -- "nation-building on a local level" -- and it should become apparent that the military brain trusts of both the Bush and Obama administrations, including Gens. Petraeus and McChrystal, are responsible for the whole sorry and symbolic debacle.