RUTH CONNIFF The eulogies for Richard Holbrooke, the Obama Administrations special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and a giant of US foreign policy, according to President, make clear that he was a Great Man of the old school. The chief architect of the Dayton Accords, which ended the war in Bosnia, advisor to every Democratic President since Lyndon Johnson, and runner-up to Madeleine Albright for Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, Holbrooke was involved in some of the stickiest and most wrenching conflicts the world over as the voice of US foreign policy. In death, as in life, he is lavished with praise by official Washington. But he has also been derided by progressive journalists, including Allan Nairn and Amy Goodman, who demanded he answer tough questions about his share of responsibility for genocide in East Timor when, as assistant secretary of state, it was his job to help prop up Indonesian leader Suharto.To many progressives, Holbrooke was the embodiment of the dishonest, secretive, and fundamentally unjust realpolitik approach to US foreign policy, playing with peoples lives as if they were so many pieces on a global game board where the object was to further US interests (meaning US wealth, power, and security - which often amounts to the same thing). In 1997, Allan Nairn questioned Holbrooke during a forum at Brown University about his tenure during the Carter Administration, when the Indonesian military was allegedly slaughtering Timorese using US-supplied weapons. Indonesia was an important country and remains an important country, Holbrooke told Nairn. And the solution to the problem . . . does not, in my view, involve a complete arms cut-off. Youre welcome to disagree. But I am interested in consequences of policy. Im interested in solving the problem and not . . . Here Nairn broke in: The consequences in this case were genocide, a third of the Timorese population killed. To which Holbrooke replied: If you want to accuse me of genocide, youre welcome to do so. And if as far as extending the war crimes tribunal to Timor or, for that matter, Cambodia, where its incomprehensibly not of a mandate, Im all for it. In fact, I have recently written a letter to the Holocaust Commission at the museum, recommending that they take this issue on, precisely because its incomprehensible to me why various people who were equally as murderous as of Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic have never been investigated. But I tell you here for the benefit of everyone else that the Timor issue is not as simple as described just now. It just isnt. This is not what happened, and I dont think anyone who knows Jimmy Carter or what he stands for would agree that this was a deliberate policy of giving low-flying airplanes or helicopters to the Indonesians so that they could go out and kill people in the hills. In the other conflicts where Holbrooke was involved, particularly Vietnam and Afgha-nistan, the contrast between the sterile language of US foreign policy and the actual costs in civilian lives were also stark. In Holbrookes defence, blogger Aliya Sternstein, who writes about cybersecurity and the State Department for the web site Nextgov, makes the case that Holbrookes death underscores the value of secret diplomacy of the kind that is undermined by Wikileaks: Richard Holbrooke led closed-door negotiations during the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement to end the Bosnian War, but his passing on Monday night was nearly overshadowed by WikiLeaks effort to end such discretion, Sternstein writes. She quotes Michael Fullilove, who is writing a book on presidential envoys, for which he interviewed Holbrooke: Only a figure like Holbrooke could have stood up to Slobodan Milosevic and talked him down, writes Fullilove in the Interpreter, a blog maintained by Lowy Institute for International Policy, based in Sydney, Australia. But not even Holbrooke could have brokered Dayton without the ability to have confidential conversations with his interlocutors. At a time when WikiLeaks is undermining diplomacy, it has taken the death of a legendary diplomat to show us why diplomacy matters. In the midst of the hagiography, we need to remember the costs of the approach to government that Holbrooke embodied, where powerful men negotiate the terms of life and death for millions of people behind closed doors. Wikileaks has blown some of those doors off. As the journalists who dogged Holbrooke rightly argued, we cant just leave it to the Great Men to take care of things. We must demand accountability. The Progressive