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Richard Holbrooke: “I have never seen anything remotely resembling the mess we have inherited”


 

In February, 2009, Richard Holbrooke was the Obama administration’s brand-new envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. At the Munich Security Conference, he delivered a bracingly frank assessment of the job he’d taken on. I wrote about those remarks here.

Holbrooke died leaving his work unfinished. That happens a lot in Afghanistan. I read a lot of lucid critiques of his manner and work, but I admired his willingness to plunge into the most intractable messes of American foreign policy, again and again over half a century, and try to set them right.


 

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