Hours after Ambassador Richard Holbrooke died, it was widely reported that his last words, spoken to his surgeon, were, "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan." Many heard these words as striking, epitomizing Holbrooke's life-long dedication to foreign policy and diplomacy.
Later in the day, the Washington Post clarified the story, referencing an aide to Holbrooke who was present at the time.
The aide said he could not be sure of Holbrooke's exact words. He emphasized Tuesday that the comment was made in painful banter, rather than as a serious exhortation about policy. Holbrooke also spoke extensively about his family and friends as he awaited surgery by Farzad Najam, a thoracic surgeon of Pakistani descent.
Knowing that won't change the impression that many had of Holbrooke as a giant among diplomats and a statesman supremely dedicated to his profession.
David Rohde, co-author of "A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping from Two Sides," joins The Takeaway. As a young reporter, Rohde was held in captivity in Bosnian Serbia while then-U.S. envoy Holbrooke negotiated his release.