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The Passing of Richard Holbrooke

December 13, 2010

STATEMENT BY SECRETARY CLINTON

Passing of Richard Holbrooke

Tonight America has lost one of its fiercest champions and most dedicated public servants. Richard Holbrooke served the country he loved for nearly half a century, representing the United States in far-flung war-zones and high-level peace talks, always with distinctive brilliance and unmatched determination. He was one of a kind — a true statesman — and that makes his passing all the more painful.

From his early days in Vietnam to his historic role bringing peace to the Balkans to his last mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard helped shape our history, manage our perilous present, and secure our future. He was the consummate diplomat, able to stare down dictators and stand up for America’s interests and values even under the most difficult circumstances. He served at every level of the Foreign Service and beyond, helping mentor generations of talented officers and future ambassadors. Few people have ever left a larger mark on the State Department or our country. From Southeast Asia to post-Cold War Europe and around the globe, people have a better chance of a peaceful future because of Richard’s lifetime of service.

I had the privilege to know Richard for many years and to call him a friend, colleague and confidante. As Secretary of State, I have counted on his advice and relied on his leadership. This is a sad day for me, for the State Department and for the United States of America.

True to form, Richard was a fighter to the end. His doctors marveled at his strength and his willpower, but to his friends, that was just Richard being Richard. I am grateful for the tireless efforts of all the medical staff, and to everyone who sat by his side or wished him well in these final days.

Tonight my thoughts and prayers are with Richard’s beloved wife Kati, his sons David and Anthony, his step-children Elizabeth and Chris Jennings, his daughter-in-law Sarah, and all of his countless friends and colleagues.

Peace.

You can read about his long diplomatic career here.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. PYW permalink
    December 13, 2010 10:37 pm

    What a wonderful, moving tribute by Hillary.

  2. vcal permalink
    December 14, 2010 12:51 am

    Hillary, I’m sorry for this great lose for you and for our country. May this great man rest in peace!

  3. Thain permalink
    December 14, 2010 8:17 am

    Ambassador Holbrooke’s last words according to his family right before he went into 22 hour surgery over the weekend “you’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/13/richard-holbrooke-dead-dies_n_796235.html

    I think we’ve lost a fearless advocate for the truth when it comes to Afghanistan War policy. The military is urging Obama to stay even longer. putting a rosy spin on what’s going on over there and now Holbrooke isn’t there to stand up to the people who always want perpetual war. Who is going to stand up to the hawks and the Generals who always want more troops, more time, more money? We’ve been there longer than we were in Vietnam. Karzai stole the election and we are propping him up.

    You left us too soon Ambassador.

  4. PCFS permalink
    December 14, 2010 8:35 am

    So sad for the loss of this giant of a man who loved his country. May he rest in peace.

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