December 14th, 2010
Sometimes it’s difficult for me to even stomach President Obama’s words. For instance, about Richard Holbrooke who suddenly became ill and died the other day, the president said â€œhe was simply one of the giants of American foreign policy.â€
That simply does not square with Obama’s treatment of this tough and caring diplomat, possibly because his direct, sometimes confrontational style, made the president nervous. Holbrooke was sidelined as much as possible. An article in the NY Times said “he (Holbrooke) was left off Air Force One on Mr. Obamaâ€™s last two trips to Afghanistan and was increasingly marginalized in policy debates. He held on to his job, several officials said, mainly because Mrs. Clinton protected him.”
As Holbrooke was sedated for surgery, his final words were to his Pakistani surgeon, family members said: “You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.” Maybe he figured asking a Pakistani surgeon to act was a better bet than asking the president.