Richard Holbrooke's Final Words: End the War in Afghanistan

Richard Holbrooke spent his last words on the diplomacy he'd been dispatched to keep. According to his family members, just before going into heart surgery, he told his Pakistani doctor, “"You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan.” Twenty-one hours later, after a laborious procedure, he was dead.

Ultimately, his last words reflected his viewpoint that the war there was misguided and unwinnable. In Bob Woodward's latest book, Obama's Wars, he's quoted numerous times in opposition to the Afghanistan strategy, and expresses the idea that Al Qaeda's presence there was minimal.

Elsewhere, he expresses doubt that the United States can "defeat" the Taliban, complains about the Afghan police ("the weak link") and says provocatively that the U.S. presence itself "is the corrupting force" in Afghanistan. During the fall 2009 strategy review, he told Clinton privately that he supported sending 20,000 troops, but not the full 40,000 the military had requested. But he also opposed the July 2011 deadline to begin withdrawing U.S. troops and said flatly at one point, "We're not leaving," urging that the U.S. presence be put on a more sustainable long-term footing.

Read more, including Obama's eulogies for the storied diplomat, at Foreign Policy.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at December 14, 2010, 3:29am

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