Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke (1941-2010)


Richard Holbrooke died Dec. 13, 2010, from complications of the torn aorta. According to The Washington Post, his last words were: “You’ve got to end this war in Afghanistan.”

— David Street

Distinguished diplomat and longtime foreign policy icon Richard C. Holbrooke had the unique distinction of having worked in every Democratic administration since the 1960’s and was also a notable specialist in the affairs of multiple regions throughout the world. President Barack Obama said that during his long career in the Foreign Service, Holbrooke established himself as “simply one of the giants of American foreign policy.”

Holbrooke will be especially remembered for his ability to bring warring enemies to the peace table, as he did with the 1995 Dayton accords that ended the war in Bosnia. After such a distinguished and involved career, Holbrooke’s absence in Washington will be felt for years to come.

A detailed account of Holbrooke’s life is available from The New York Times. JTA reported that Holbrooke had a fondness for discussing and openly displaying his Jewish roots. One example is a column that he wrote for The Washington Post to commemorate Israel’s 60th anniversary. His column emphatically praised President Harry S. Truman for his recognition of Israel and urged all Americans to admire Truman’s courageous decision.