JONATHAN CHAIT DECEMBER 15, 2010
Glenn Greenwald yesterday morning:
I just want to flag what his "last words" were according to his family members, which he uttered as he was being sedated for surgery: "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan."
Ironically, Holbrooke was the author of one of the volumes of the Pentagon Papers -- which revealed that government officials knew of the futility of the Vietnam War at the same time they were falsely assuring the public they could win -- and Afghanistan seems to be no different. As official Washington rushes forward to lavish praise on Holbrooke's wisdom and service, undoubtedly they will studiously avoid acknowledging his final insight.
Amanda Terkel, yesterday afternoon:
Administration officials sought to clarify that, according to people who were present, Holbrooke's final words, "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan," were part of a jovial back-and-forth with the medical staff. "At one point, the medical team said, You've got to relax," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters on Tuesday, relaying what he said he had heard from people who were in the room with Holbrooke at George Washington University Hospital. "And Richard said, I can't relax, I'm worried about Afghanistan and Pakistan. After some additional exchanges, the medical team finally said, Tell you what, we'll try to fix this challenge while you're undergoing surgery. And [Holbrooke] said, Yeah, see if you can take care of that, including ending the war."
I don't know if Greenwald is "studiously" avoiding acknowledging this fact, but he is avoiding acknowledging it.