rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Why did major Canadian media not report Holbrooke's dying words?

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

We put this note out today to supporters of the Canadian Peace Alliance. Here's hoping that Holbrooke's apparent death bed admission will be a tipping point for public understanding that the war is unwinnable. (And also, not that he would have had this in mind, unjust and immoral.)

Richard Holbrooke, the top U.S. Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, died after emergency heart surgery at the age of 69. His last words, reported by family members and his surgeon before he underwent surgery were: "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan".

These dying words were reported in his obituary in the Washington Post and on major U.S. networks and international news agencies. So why did big Canadian media outlets not even make mention of this in their reports on his death?

-The CBC National News, with Peter Mansbridge, did not refer to this at all. Nor did the CBC.ca online report.

-The Globe and Mail story reports on the Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan's thoughts on how Holbrooke's death might affect the "peace process," and yet the story fails to mention the dying words.

The Canadian Peace Alliance believes this is an unacceptable omission.

Holbrooke, 69, had a long career as a US diplomat and an aggressive advocate of US foreign policy, from Vietnam to East Timor, Yugoslavia, Iraq and points beyond. The type of "peace" he was interested in throughout his career was "peace" that would still benefit US interests. Nevertheless, his reported last words indicate that he may well have reached the conclusion that the Afghan war was unwinnable.

If these were the real views of the top US civilian official in charge of the war effort in Afghanistan and Pakistan, how can the Canadian government possibly continue to justify Canada's role in the war, which was recently extended another three years?

Visit the Canadian Peace Alliance Afghanistan page for more resources and information.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.