Update: And so, 12/13/10, he is gone. As reported in the NYT HERE:
[But his boss and old friend, Mrs. Clinton, expressed absolute confidence in him. “Richard represents the kind of robust, persistent, determined diplomacy the president intends to pursue,” she said. “I admire deeply his ability to shoulder the most vexing and difficult challenges.”]
Even as the State Department rushes to fill the void, the knowledge is that the face and force of American diplomacy in the Middle East will be different. It appears that for the interim, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry will be the “essentially alone in conducting US Diplomacy with Karzai’s Government”. RIP Ambassador Holbrooke, your job is done.
While I don’t know if this is what happened yesterday, I think President Obama’s sudden departure from his own conference on H.R. 4853, the “Middle Class Relief Act of 2010″, leaving ex-President Clinton to run a dog and pony show, had more to do with Richard, than it did Michelle.
Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s personally appointed Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan is in critical condition, after undergoing surgery to repair a tear in his aorta Saturday morning.
As you may know, according to Bloomberg;
[Holbrooke has been preparing a report for President Barack Obama on the current state of governance and development in Afghanistan. The U.S. and allies have a combined force of about 150,000 troops to turn back Taliban advances and train Afghan soldiers and police.]
SOS Clinton was reported scurrying back and forth from the hospital, and you have to imagine that concern for Holbrooke’s state over reports of a heart attack, stroke and/or possible blot clot was great. A repaired torn aorta sounds almost benign compared to the possibilities that something like a stroke could inflict. Even so, if things go well for him, he will be out of commission for a while. That means someone else has to pick up the ball and keep it rolling. Considering our situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, I’m sure the WH was in a tizzy, especially with the other news that Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner was in surgery for kidney stones. Having watched my husband experience the pain of those things, I know they can turn you into a profound pile of mush in a hurry.
Our thoughts are with Ambassador Holbrook and his family. We hope for a speedy and complete recovery. Same goes for SoT Geithner, and his family.
As to his perfunctory duties with the First Lady, imagine Diplomats and DC partygoers of all sorts would have been awaiting his entrance. We all know those things are necessary in Washington DC. Is he such a flutterby that his date with Michelle is the real reason he had bad timing, and left his conference? That would make him just vapid- something I find hard to believe.