If the Supreme Court had allowed the votes to be counted in 2000, then the Envoy, almost certainly, would have become the Secretary of State, and the next decade would have unfolded very differently. As it is, Holbrooke has left a stronger, more positive, more creative mark on history than all but a few of those who have held that post. He certainly did not die of a broken heartKati Marton saw to thatbut it was surely the ghastly, impossible demands of his last, impossible assignment that brought on the rending of his aorta. He died for his country as surely as any soldier, and his deathbed words may turn out to be the most important he ever spoke.
(Photo: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks about the sudden passing of Amb. Richard Holbrooke, at the State Department on December 14, 2010 in Washington, DC. Secretary Clinton spoke to reporters during a news conference with South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. By Mark Wilson/Getty Images.)