ABC News’ senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper appeared on Glenn Beck’s radio show this morning to discuss his new book “The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor.” In addition to covering the literary project, Beck and Tapper discussed journalists’ coverage of President Barack Obama and the future of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.
Before bringing Tapper on the air, Beck described him as a “great journalist” and quipped that the ABC staffer “probably despises” him. Wasting no time in responding to this latter point, one of the first comments to come from Tapper was a rejection of this notion.
“I do not despise you, Glenn,” he said. “I have a limited reservoir of loathing and you do not earn any of it.”
Following this dialogue, Beck asked the journalist to explain the background behind “The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor.” Tapper explained that the idea for the book is rooted in the birth of his son, an event that unfolded back in 2009. He described holding his newborn baby while in his wife’s hospital room and, out of the corner of his eye, he recalls noticing a news report on television; it highlighted a combat outpost in Afghanistan that was overrun by the Taliban.
“Holding my son and hearing about other sons taken from this world — there was something about that moment that just captured me,” Tapper said, noting that the experience of seeing new life come to fruition that day juxtaposed against the carnage on the screen profoundly impacted him.
Tapper told Beck that, after initially seeing the event on the news, he became interested in learning more about the soldiers involved and their courageous stories. While he did not hear much more about the attack in the media, the White House correspondent decided to do his own investigative work, culminating in the completion of “The Outpost.”
An official description of the book provides more context:
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.
Beck and Tapper also discussed Afghanistan and the notion that the U.S. will likely play a role in securing the nation, to some degree, well after the 2014 deadline. Tapper said that he believes “elite forces” will stay in place beyond expected withdrawal times.
“I think it ends with most U.S. troops coming home in 2014. I think it ends with a lot of fighting in Afghanistan. And I think there will be some setbacks,” he said of the fragile situation in the Middle Eastern nation.
Toward the end of the interview, Beck praised the journalist for being one of the only people in media to “use common sense and logic” in questioning the Obama administration. Tapper responded by claiming that he hears smart questions from his colleagues as well, steering clear of making any generalizations about the ways in which other reporters have covered Obama.
Listen to the interview, below: