Monday, December 13, 2010

Dick Holbrooke, a dedicated servant of his country, dead at 69

Whatever else you want to say about the man, Dick Holbrooke gave more of his life to America than almost anyone. He entered the foreign service in 1962 and went almost immediately to Vietnam, serving in austere conditions and with little supervision as a kid just barely out of college. During the Carter administration, he became the youngest Assistant Secretary of State ever. He missed out on the Republican 80s, then performed the same role (this time for Europe; the first for East Asia) during the Clinton Administration. He was twice a special envoy -- to Cyprus and to Kosovo -- and was the chief negotiator of the accord that ended the Bosnian war. And he capped off his career as the Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the position he held until his death earlier this evening.

Five decades of service. It's a hell of a thing.

If you need a reminder of just what Holbrooke has done for this country, read this profile by George Packer in the New Yorker last September. Think about what it means to spend 48 years in that business.

So RIP to a great public servant, and may his family know peace in their difficult time.

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