Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sic Transit Holbrooke

It is an ancient Roman custom to speak no ill of the dead. Not being Roman, I don't feel bound by it. I shall speak truthfully instead.

Richard Holbrooke - who died yesterday, at age 69, of a ruptured aorta - was somewhat of a symbol of this age: a diplomat who took pride in his absence of tact. His job was to "lie for his country" - and did he ever! But he also enjoyed killing, cheating and stealing. This is the man who urged his superiors to "give us bombs for peace" (NATO intervention in Bosnia in 1995); who admitted in his own memoirs that he tried to swindle the president of Serbia during the Bosnia peace talks; and who took up investment banking when on sabbaticals from diplomacy (Credit Suisse, Lehman Brothers). Ironically, it was the latter that got him in the only spot of trouble in his career, when he had to settle charges of ethical violations before becoming Empire's ambassador to the UN.

Yes, he ended the Bosnian War - on America's terms, and only after Washington sabotaged every attempt to end it any other way. He then spent years on trying to undermine and destroy the very treaty he helped broker.

In 1998, he famously sat down with the KLA - shadowy militants his colleague Robert Gelbard had labeled a "terrorist organization". The photo of the shoeless Holbrooke sitting on the floor next to the bearded (and booted) KLA terrorist went around the world.

Later he told TIME magazine that he had been "furious". If he was, it never showed. He went to Belgrade as the Emperor's envoy again, and tried to repeat his 1995 performance. He bought the KLA three months to prepare for the coming NATO attack and set up the Racak "massacre," a pretext for it. But when the time came to try and bully Serbia into accepting the so-called Rambouillet Agreement, it was Holbrooke's boss, Madeleine Albright, who took over the limelight.

Holbrooke hitched his diplomatic career horse to John Kerry's wagon in 2004 and Hillary Clinton's in 2008. As a result, he never became the Secretary of State. He would eventually become Emperor Obama's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Before that, he would pontificate once a month from the pages of the Washington Post, a newspaper that's never seen a Russian or a Serb it did not love to hate - unless the said Russian or Serb did Empire's bidding without a second thought; then he merely could not be trusted.

In one such column, in July 2008, gloating over the arrest of former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic, (in a piece called "The Face of Evil" no less), Holbrooke put forth at least four verifiable lies:
- that the war "had already taken the lives of nearly 300,000 people";
- that his colleagues, Bob Frasure, Joe Kruzel and Nelson Drew traveled through "sniper-filled, Serbian-controlled territory" when their vehicle slid off the road into a mine-filled ravine;
- that his meeting with Karadzic in Belgrade "resulted in the lifting of the siege of Sarajevo," and
- that Serbian PM Zoran Djindjic was assassinated in 2003 "as a direct result of his courage in arresting Milosevic and sending him to The Hague in 2001."

When I challenged those lies, I called Holbrooke a "sanctimonious, uncouth, arrogant, corrupt slimebucket," and I stand by that assessment. Yet I've always had a measure of respect for him due to one thing, and one thing only. He was arrogant enough to eschew hiding what he thought and felt. This is why his 1998 memoir, "To End A War," is an invaluable source in understanding his mind, and the motives of Imperial diplomacy.

By way of example, he quoted a note Robert Frasure had slipped to him during a meeting in Zagreb:

Dick: We "hired" these guys to be our junkyard dogs because we were desperate. We need to try to "control" them. But it is no time to get squeamish about things.

Sure enough, Holbrooke was not squeamish at all. If it took the establishment of a fundamentalist Islamic regime, a Nazi revival and the expulsion of half a million people to re-establish American hegemony in Europe and in the Balkans, so be it. Arrogance of power, or power of arrogance? He lived long enough to see that hegemony begin to crumble, though.

As someone who helped bring the American Empire into being, Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke was a perfect embodiment of the vices it extolled as virtues. Ultimately, his brand of bullying "diplomacy" did America and Americans no favors. Oderint dum metuant didn't work even for Caligula. It absolutely debased the country that claimed to stand for values and principles, then went around the world violating them. Holbrooke either never realized this, or refused to let it stop him.

May God, whom he had forsaken to serve the earthly power instead, have mercy on his soul.


robert49rml said...

The same mercy he exhibited.

Richard said...

On another note FP posts on the Council of Europe report on Hashim Thaci:

It picks up on the Guardian:

gyg3s said...

Organ trading - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cheXf1yEfoE&feature=player_embedded

Cossack said...

All I can say is:

Slava Bogu djavo otego papke!

jack said...

@Grey Falcon

Most of the criticism I see on the net that frequently comes up is that Holbrooke “awarded” the Serbs with the Dayton accord with territory he allowed them to acquire in Bosnia.

Do you know what Arkan is saying in this video?


What about the whole Arkan thing?

I asked this on the Wilcox forum but never got an answer.

Did he run death squads and who did he work for?

He was killed in Belgrade so I would assume he had Serb government oversight.

Asteri said...

you forgot his interview on CNN in 2008 when he said Kosovo had been liberated from "centuries of Serb opression" history wasn't his strong point.

Gray Falcon said...

Asteri, I wasn't trying to give a comprehensive overview of Holbrooke's career; that would've taken way too much valuable screen space - plus, others have done a superb job of pointing out some of Holbrooke's "greatest hits."

Jack, this is a bit off-topic, but I'll venture a short response. Arkan did have ties to the Serbian security services (whose head worked for the CIA, mind you), but he ran a militia, not "death squads," and by most accounts fairly effective in battle. The notion that the Serbs somehow "conquered" land in Bosnia is preposterous - a century ago, at the time of the Annexation Crisis, Bosnia was widely acknowledged to have a Serb majority.

And yes, isn't it amazing how Holbrooke's demise coincided with the reports of Thaci's monstrous dealings? As Julia Gorin put it today (firmly tongue-in-cheek), couldn't Thaci have hooked up his "great friend" with a new aorta?

I think it fitting that the coverage of Holbrooke's demise will be upstaged by this gushing well of filth created by his actions in life.

Laser 3000 said...

Another great article. Interesting that Holbrooke called Dr Karadzic the Osama Bin Laden of Europe. During the Bosnian war a British journalist went to Bosnia to interview Alija Izetbegovic. Who walked into the room during the interview? Osama Bin Laden!!

His Mujahadeen holy warriors fought with the Bosnian Muslims during the war. There is even a memorial in Bosnia to commemorate those Mujahadeen who died in the war. The real icing on the cake comes with the following fact. The memorial was funded by the US Government's money. There is even a picture of Bill Clinton standing in front of the memorial bowing his head in honour!!

If we go back to the 1980s the US funded Osama Bin Laden in his fight with the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Gray Falcon said...

Laser, it is a little known fact that every Muslim soldier who died in the Bosnian War was buried as a "shahid" (martyr in the jihad). It was a jihad, pure and simple. And Holbrooke supported it.

jack said...

Given Obamas staff was almost entirely made people involved in supporting Islamic terrorism since 79 (Brzezinski and Gates) and Clintons staff during the 90’s (Holbrooke, Biden, etc) it was no mystery where US foreign policy was headed.

Reading his background not just in the Balkans Holbrooke is a bigger asshole than I thought.


@Grey Falcon

You should read the 9/11 lawsuit fills in a lot of blanks and interesting info of who finances international terrorism including Bin Ladins stay in Sudan and the Taliban regime and there connections to the CIA and MI6.

The major financier of international terrorism was a Saudi CIA/MI6 asset who during the 80’s was used by the Reagan administration to sell the Promise spyware software to Mid East countries.


When you put this together with US oil agenda of getting Caspian oil to Europe that bypasses Russia and the connection to the Balkans with Bosnia and Kosovo to groups in Russia’s North Caucasus it all becomes clear and especially no the focus and the reason we are in Afghanistan to “loose” to the Taliban so they can use the new Opium empire to destabilise Eurasia.

Even the US own 98 DIA report confirms Bosnia Muslims and KLA as one of the main groups supporting Chechen lead terrorism in Russia’s North Caucasus.


Does Justin Raimondo have an email contact address?

Gray Falcon said...

I've long suspected that the jihad in Bosnia, Al Qaeda and the Chechens all had the same puppetmaster pulling the strings. But facts have that handicap that oftentimes people simply refuse to acknowledge them. Look at Marty's report: there's hardly anything new in it, he simply busted open the pit in which the Empire buried all those filthy secrets.

Justin does have an email address, but for obvious reasons I can't share it. You can write Antiwar.com directly if you wish, and I'll put in a word with the gatekeeper that you aren't a crank. That's as good a chance that you'll get through as there can be...

1389 said...

Holbrooke was as evil as a person could be. As with other evil people in history, the only limits to the evil he did were the opportunities he had. Sadly, he had many such opportunities, and very few people tried to stop him.

Lord knows I tried, and I know you tried also.

May the Lord have mercy on OUR souls, and grant us the strength to persevere in our effort to preserve the beleaguered Serbian people.