12/20/2010 11:59 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough: Richard Holbrooke Told Me Afghanistan Was A Losing Proposition

WASHINGTON -- Before his death, Richard Holbrooke admitted that Afghanistan is a war that cannot be won, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough revealed Monday.

"Afghanistan is so depressing to me because I've yet to talk to a foreign policy expert, including Richard Holbrooke -- off the record -- that didn't know this was a losing proposition," said Scarborough. "And it seems like the president is just buying time because he doesn't want the Republicans to call him weak on defense."

The comments came during a discussion with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who admitted that when U.S. troops leave Afghanistan, the country will still be developing.

"You know, we're not going to stay there until this is a peaceful, civilized, developed country," said Durbin. "It's the kind of thing that's not within our grasp or control. We can't send in enough soldiers to do it. And many of us believe that that July deadline is critically important."

When asked by Scarborough whether he will hold Obama to his promise, Durbin simply replied, "The president gave his word, and I believe he should stand by it."

Scarborough has been vocal in his opposition to the war in Afghanistan, even though he initially supported the U.S. invasion. He has said that he is "very concerned about the Republican party being the party of endless war," and has praised conservative pundit Ann Coulter for her criticism of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

"It's distressing to me to see how this war continues," he said on his MSNBC show Monday. "It goes on and on. We've been fighting it for almost a decade; 2011 got pushed to 2014. We had a NATO conference where administration officials said, don't worry about the 2014 deadline, it's going to be pushed beyond that. When are you and other progressives in the Senate going to start pushing back on the administration, on the generals, and say enough is enough -- we can't waste $2 billion a week on a war without end?"


Scarborough's revelation about Holbrooke's views is likely to renew debate over the veteran diplomat's last words and thoughts on the conflict. Initially, The Washington Post reported that, according to family members, Holbrooke's last words were, "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan." The Obama administration, however, said that according to aides who were in the room, the comments were part of a conversation Holbrooke had with his doctor, before going into surgery.