Richard Holbrook worried about Afghanistan till the end
WASHINGTON — Richard Holbrook's mission to bring peace to Afghanistan and Pakistan was with him until the end. He never stopped being concerned about being able to complete that task. It was a daunting mission, according to USA Today
San Francisco resident, Jackie Greenwood, says the news of Richard Holbrooke's passing was sad for all to hear. "He seemed like such a dedicated man but his passing now means his legacy is not complete. It must surely leave a gap in the administration and I wonder how will they bring about peace now."
Richard Holbrooke, aged 69, died on Monday night (see that article here) when doctors tried to repair a dissection, or tear, in his aorta. Kaiser Medical in San Francisco explains that the aorta is the main artery that distributes oxygenated blood from the heart to other parts of the body. San Francisco Kaiser Medical Center says that around 3,000 Americans die annually because of a tear in the aorta.
Kaiser also says that symptoms may not occur but screening with ultrasound and CT or even MRI scans can detect problems before the aorta tears and those problems can often be surgically repaired easily. San Francisco Kaiser says it's worth getting a check up. The risk of tearing increases with age.
The focus is still on military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Robert Lamb of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said this about Richard Holbrook: "[Holbrooke] probably died before his moment in this war arrived," according to USA Today.
State Department spokesman, P.J. Crowley, said on Tuesday that Richard Holbrooke simply couldn't relax, even as he was about to undergo the operation that might have been able to save his life.
"At one point, the medical team said, 'You've got to relax,' " Crowley told reporters, after consulting with several people who were in the room. "And Richard said, 'I can't relax. I'm worried about Afghanistan and Pakistan.' And then after some additional exchanges, the medical team finally said, 'Well, tell you what. We'll try to fix this challenge while you're undergoing surgery.' And he said, 'Yeah, see if you can take care of that, including ending the war.' "
President Obama is currently holding White House meetings to prepare for a statement that will be issued on Thursday to give an update on the progress of the war in Afghanistan.
Robert Gibbs, a White House spokesman told press that Holbrooke was Obama's special envoy to the area and that Holbrooke was simply "irreplaceable." Holbrooke will be "sorely missed."
The Obama administration is planning to give security back to the Afghan forces by 2014
But even with all of Holbrooke's help, developments in Afghanistan are slow in terms of security, good governance and the economy. It didn't help that Holbrooke had had differences with Afghan President, Hamid Karzai but Holbrooke was determined to persuade regional leaders to reject the corruption that plagues their government, stated USA Today.
Holbrooke was a great ally of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, but he did clash with President Obama, particularly on Obama's decision to increase the troops in Afghanistan by 30,000. Bob Woodword writes about this in his book, Obama's Wars. According to USA Today, "Woodward reported that Holbrooke, who opposed the president's decision last year to add 30,000 troops in Afghanistan, said Obama's war plan "can't work.""
Now that Holbrooke has gone, many say it will be very hard to replace him.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs stated he didn't know whether discussions about a replacement for Holbrooke were underway at the State Department or not, but he did say he hasn't heard anything at the White House. "I don't think anyone would disagree," Gibbs said, "you've got big shoes to fill."
See slide show of Richard Holbrooke photos here
Source: USA Today
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