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Veteran Diplomat Richard Holbrooke Dies at 69

HeadlinesDec 14, 2010

And the veteran U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke has died at the age of 69. Holbrooke served under four Democratic administrations dating back to President Lyndon Johnson. In a statement, President Obama praised Holbrooke as "a true giant of American foreign policy… who will be remembered for his tireless diplomacy, love of country, and pursuit of peace." Widely respected in Washington and corporate media circles, Holbrooke is well known for brokering the 1995 Dayton peace accords that ended the war in Bosnia. But he came under criticism elsewhere for implementing and backing U.S. policies that killed thousands of civilians. As Assistant Secretary of State in the Carter administration, Holbrooke oversaw weapons shipments to the Indonesian military as it killed a third of East Timor’s population. In 1980, he played a key role in the Carter administration’s support for a South Korean military crackdown on a pro-democracy uprising in the city of Kwangju that killed hundreds of people. During the 1990s Holbrooke was seen as one of the key figures in the dismantling of Yugoslavia. He was also a prominent Democratic backer of the Bush administration’s decision to attack Iraq in 2003. Holbrooke served as President Obama’s chief envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan until his death. According to the Washington Post, family members say Holbrooke’s final words, said to his Pakistani surgeon, were: "You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan."

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