Dear Mr. President,
Richard Holbrooke's death is a loss for his family and for the international community he spent his life serving. Reports of his final words "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan" left me wondering who he'd intended them for. Were those words for you, the one person who might be able to do it alone? Or were they for all of us, each person with our own, considerably reduced, ability to bring the conflict to an end. I had to consider the wisdom of this man, his life spent experiencing first hand the international drama I study in classrooms. Was he speaking to me, then? Did he believe that the war even could be stopped?
I may not always trust my own naive beliefs about war, but I don't think that Mr. Holbrooke suffered from naiveté. His call for an end to this war joins a chorus of other well-informed voices demanding that we end this senseless, counter-productive and expensive conflict. I don't imagine that any last words, even those of such a distinguished diplomatic heavyweight, will change your position on the war so dramatically.
If there is one thing that I am saddest about after all of these letters is that I no longer believe you're capable of listening to the anti-war voices in your rush to please the right. Even when those voices come from true American heroes, you seem to have accepted the argument that being anti-war is being anti-American. In the cacophony of discussion about strategic values, public perception and geopolitics I think the simple statement that this war is just wrong will inevitably be lost.
As we mourn the passing of a great man who served his country well, I know that I, at least, won't be mourning just his death but also the sad knowledge his dying words have fallen on deaf ears.