Richard C. Holbrooke

Split City
June 23, 2010

Washington—Gen. Stanley McChrystal put President Obama in an impossible position. That is why he had to go. A general’s tasks involve executing policies made by the commander in chief, plotting strategy and winning wars—not playing politics in the media to get at civilian rivals inside the government. What McChrystal did required Obama to change generals at a decisive moment in the Afghanistan conflict or risk looking weak and out of control.

Karzai 1, Holbrooke 0
November 20, 2009

Is someone from the Pentagon taking a shot at Holbrooke in that WashPost story on Obama's "reset" with Karzai that Jason linked? Note this: "We've been treating Karzai like [Slobodan] Milosevic," a senior Pentagon official said, referring to the former Bosnian Serb* leader whom Holbrooke pressured into accepting a peace treaty in the 1990s. "That's not a model that will work in Afghanistan." Who played the critical role in dragging Milosevic to a peace agreement? Holbrooke.

How Do You Say 'Reset' in Pashto?
November 20, 2009

The WaPo's Rajiv Chandrasekaran reports that the Obama administration has decided to try a little tenderness with Hamid Karzai: The new approach, which one official described as a "reset" of the relationship, will entail more engagement with members of Karzai's cabinet and provincial governors, officials said, because they have concluded that the Afghan president lacks the political clout in his highly decentralized nation to purge corrupt local warlords and power brokers. The CIA has sent a longtime field officer close to Karzai to be the new station chief in Kabul.