The True Richard Holbrooke Legacy - by Stephen Lendman
Dead on December 13 at age 69 after two aorta tear surgeries failed to save him, Western media headlines hailed the man London Guardian writers Ed Pilkington and Adam Gabbat called a "giant of US foreign policy," saying his loss leaves "a substantial hole to fill."
On December 13, New York Times writer Robert McFadden headlined, "Strong American Voice in Diplomacy and Crisis," saying:
"Mr. Holbrooke was hospitalized on (December 10) after becoming ill. (After two major surgeries, he) remained in very critical condition until his death....A brilliant, sometimes abrasive infighter, he used a formidable arsenal of facts, bluffs, whispers, implied threats and, when necessary, pyrotechnic fits of anger to press his positions." For good reason, he was nicknamed "The Bulldozer."
Former CIA officer, turned activist and political critic, Ray McGovern, called him a favorite Democrat party "go-to diplomat for particularly messy conflicts," like the 1990s Balkans wars and current Afghanistan/Pakistan (Af-Pak) ones "where a strong moral compass was viewed as something of a disqualifier." (He) was counted on to bulldoze through and over any ethical qualms to achieve what Washington wanted." He obliged.
Obama called him "a true giant of American foreign policy," pursuing a belligerent imperial agenda he didn't mention. Nor did major media reports, presenting their customary sanitized versions of current issues, history, and notable public figures like Holbrooke, misportrayed as heros.
His diplomatic career spanned nearly five decades, first in Vietnam as an Agency for International Development (USAID) representative, then a staff assistant to ambassadors Maxwell Taylor and Henry Cabot Lodge. Re-asssigned to the White House, he served Lyndon Johnson in the same capacity. In the late 1960s, he wrote one volume of the Pentagon Papers, and served as special assistant to Under Secretaries of State Nicholas Katzenbach and Elliot Richardson. He also was a member of the US Delegation to the Vietnam Paris Peace Talks.
In the 1970s, he was a fellow at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School, a Peace Corp Director in Morocco, managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine, and National Security Affairs coordinator for the Carter/Mondale presidential campaign.