White House: Holbrooke's 'Last Words' Made in Jest

He was joshing with the medical staff, says State Department
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2010 4:58 PM CST
White House: Holbrooke's 'Last Words' Made in Jest
A file photo Richard Holbrooke testifying on Capitol Hill this summer.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

The White House is taking issue with today's heavy coverage of the last words attributed to Richard Holbrooke: "Stop this war in Afghanistan." Far from being a melodramatic plea, it was actually part of a lighthearted back-and-forth with the medical staff, says the State Department's PJ Crowley. It began when a doctor told him to relax, and Holbrooke responded something along the lines of, "I can't relax, I'm worrying about Afghanistan and Pakistan," reports the Huffington Post.

Crowley's account: "After some additional exchanges ... (Holbrooke's doctor) said, 'Tell you what, we'll try to fix this challenge while you're in surgery.' And (Holbrooke) said, 'Yeah, see if you can take care of that,' including ending the war." The Washington Post has more details, but the gist remains that the comment was made in jest and not as a serious policy matter. Meanwhile, the administration's official review of the war comes out Thursday.
(More Richard Holbrooke stories.)

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