Looking over his biography with even but a cursetory eye one is impressed by the length, depth and breadth of the man's service to his country. And he was an old-style Democrat, one who believed in America and American power and the ability of this nation to do good in the world.
His greatest accomplishment--one that affected my life profoundly--was his work, with German diplomat Karl Bild, to end the war in Bosnia in 1995, bringing together the leaders of the three factions to a dumpy compound in Dayton, Ohio, and twisting their arms into a deal that would allow the war, and its genocide, to finally end.
Not a bad accomplishment, that.
In his last years he worked tirelessly to advance American interests in the Iraqi and Afghan theaters, a task that likely deprived him of a decade or more of life.
Rest in peace, Mr. Holbrooke.
Addendum: Apparently I'm not the only one who feels this way. Max Boot at Commentary makes the same observation. Money graf:
He was a liberal but a tough-minded one — one of the last prominent hawks in the Democratic Party. He was, in short, a “neo-liberal,” which isn’t so far removed from a “neo-conservative,” a label that I teased him with and that he naturally resisted. The country as a whole will miss him, and so in particular will the Democratic Party, which could use more of his bracing realism in its counsels.
Truly a giant leaves us. (And the average moral stature of those left behind become even more hobbit-like....)