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You've got to end this war in Afghanistan.
December 14, 2010 6:56 AM   Subscribe

A top-ranking American diplomat, Richard Holbrooke, dies.

Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke died on December 13, 2010, from complications of the torn aorta. He was 69 years old.
According to the Washington Post, Holbrooke's last words were:"You've got to end this war in Afghanistan"
posted by mooselini (40 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
A man who left the world (and in particular the former Yugoslavia) better than he found it, and I think that we can all admire that.

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posted by jaduncan at 7:00 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


"If Richard calls you and asks you for something, just say yes," former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said. "If you say no, you'll eventually get to yes, but the journey will be very painful."

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To lose a diplomat of such force, apparently of the right side, it's much too early.
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:03 AM on December 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


His last words, according to family members:

"You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan."
posted by 2bucksplus at 7:03 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by Deathalicious at 7:08 AM on December 14, 2010


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posted by honest knave at 7:08 AM on December 14, 2010


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posted by lapolla at 7:10 AM on December 14, 2010


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posted by saulgoodman at 7:12 AM on December 14, 2010


I was wondering when someone would post this. I had a bad feeling about Mr. Holbrooke when I heard on the news that he had been in surgery for 20 hours the first day and then went back for another 7 hour procedure. I have been involved in that type of surgery before and when it takes that long things are going very bad and it is rare for people to make it through without some major disability.

We need more like him in government; he seemed to be a real statesman, something that is far too rare these days.

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posted by TedW at 7:12 AM on December 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, according to news reports he wished to be remembered most for his role in the Dayton peace accord; perhaps that tag should be added?
posted by TedW at 7:16 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by jquinby at 7:16 AM on December 14, 2010


New Yorker profile of Holbrooke from last year.
posted by COBRA! at 7:17 AM on December 14, 2010


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posted by pointystick at 7:21 AM on December 14, 2010


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posted by sidesh0w at 7:24 AM on December 14, 2010


His words remain relevant:

Paul [Wolfowitz] and I have been in frequent touch to make sure that we keep [East Timor] out of the presidential campaign, where it would do no good to American or Indonesian interests. ... The situation in East Timor is one of the number of very important concerns of the United States in Indonesia. Indonesia, with a population of 150 million people, is the fifth largest nation in the world, is a moderate member of the Non-Aligned Movement, is an important oil producer – which plays a moderate role within OPEC – and occupies a strategic position astride the sea lanes between the Pacific and Indian Oceans ... We highly value our cooperative relationship with Indonesia.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:32 AM on December 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


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posted by Iridic at 7:40 AM on December 14, 2010


Mr Holbrooke said he had no moral qualms about "negotiating with people who do immoral things".

"If you can prevent the deaths of people still alive, you're not doing a disservice to those already killed trying to do so," he said in 1999.

"And so I make no apologies for negotiating with Milosevic and even worse people, provided one doesn't lose one's point of view."


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posted by Pendragon at 7:53 AM on December 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


He deserves far better from MetaFilter than a single link to a BBC news story.
posted by briank at 7:56 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Irreplaceable.

I always appreciated how he would never allow imprecise terminology or inaccurate quotes to escape an interview or press conference uncorrected. The press loves to compress, conflate, and use shorthand terms; he would not allow such usage in his presence, even if it meant using up an entire interview to explain why.

Language is diplomacy's only tool, and he was a master.

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posted by Herodios at 8:01 AM on December 14, 2010 [13 favorites]


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posted by Lizc at 8:06 AM on December 14, 2010


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posted by angrycat at 8:16 AM on December 14, 2010


Hope in Pakistan, written by Holbrooke in Mar 2008.

A real loss to the world of international diplomacy.

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posted by bardophile at 8:24 AM on December 14, 2010


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posted by awesomebrad at 8:28 AM on December 14, 2010


I am sadder than I expected about this news. I really admired him.
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posted by ahdeeda at 8:40 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by sswiller at 8:47 AM on December 14, 2010


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posted by joedan at 8:48 AM on December 14, 2010


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posted by nathan_teske at 8:55 AM on December 14, 2010


Very sad news, especially to hear it in Belgrade.
posted by grounded at 9:09 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was really hoping someone would make up a whang-bango obit post about him, bc of all people, he really deserved it.

I learned this morning that he was a major author of the Pentagon Papers. I'm on an iPad on a coffee break or else I'd hunt down the site, which was in TPM this morning.

As someone above said, we need many more like him.

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posted by nevercalm at 9:16 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by dabug at 9:36 AM on December 14, 2010


I was sad to hear of his death as well. Many in the U.S. don't know that his work saved lives in Bosnia and in Kosovo. And just when we still needed him.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:39 AM on December 14, 2010


I had the unique opportunity to meet him on a couple of occasions. I wrote about those encounters here.
posted by joetrip at 9:59 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, the surgeon travels to Afghanistan and brokers a peace agreement in accordance with Holbrooke's dying words.
posted by symbioid at 10:13 AM on December 14, 2010


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posted by dealing away at 10:21 AM on December 14, 2010


Holbrooke:

Kwangju was an explosively dangerous situation, the outcome was tragic, but the long-term results for Korea are democracy and economic stability. ... The idea that we would actively conspire with the Korean generals in a massacre of students is, frankly, bizarre; it’s obscene and counter to every political value we articulated.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:24 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


A wholly admirable man who did difficult, essential work. An incalculable wealth of experience and wisdom is gone along with the man; can anyone take his place? Ours, and the world's, loss.

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posted by kinnakeet at 10:32 AM on December 14, 2010


I heard him speak once about the Balkans. Eloquent, forceful, precise. The world is a poorer place without him.

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posted by Hactar at 11:02 AM on December 14, 2010


Richard Holbrooke's passing is a terrible loss for all of humanity. I deeply mourn his death. What a magnificent man.

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posted by perilous at 12:06 PM on December 14, 2010


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posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:57 PM on December 14, 2010


I hesitate to speak ill of the dead, but there is some seriously uncritical coverage going on about this. The man was complicit in the abhorrent US decision to continue arming the Indonesian regime during its wholesale massacre of tens of thousands of Timorese. I sympathise with his family, but I certainly won't be losing any sleep over this.
posted by knapah at 12:57 PM on December 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


What is wrong with you people
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:45 PM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


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