Donald Rumsfeld, who served twice as U.S. secretary of defense and who was an architect of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has died. He was 88. “It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Donald Rumsfeld, an American statesman and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great grandparent,” Rumsfeld’s family said during a Twitter post. “History may remember him for his extraordinary accomplishments over six decades of public service, except for those that knew him best and whose lives were forever changed as a result, we’ll remember his unwavering love for his wife Joyce, his family and friends and therefore the integrity he delivered to a life dedicated to the country.” Rumsfeld holds the excellence of being both the youngest and therefore the oldest person to serve at the helm of the Department of Defense.
Hawkish and a pacesetter of the neoconservative movement that found considerable influence within the George W. Bush White House, Rumsfeld is probably best remembered together as the key architects of the decades-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His post-9/11 strategy has become one among the hallmarks of U.S. policy, and therefore the bloody trail left within the wake of the 2000s invasions has left some to recollect him as a talented statesman, while others have blamed these interventions as liable for destabilizing the region and roping American soldiers into seemingly endless war. because the Iraq War raged, U.S. troops became embroiled during a scandal involving the tough treatment of Iraqi prisoners within the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.
Rumsfeld subsequently said he offered to quit twice during that period, but that Bush “made that call and said he did want me to remain on.” “That was such a stain on our country,” he told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer in 2011. The prisoners, he said, were treated in a “disgusting and perverted and ghastly way.” His position on the treatment of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay also drew scrutiny — and criticism. A memo that detailed how interrogators at the prison camp forced prisoners to face for four hours at a time bore this handwritten note from Rumsfeld: “I represent 8–10 hours each day. Why is standing [by prisoners] limited to 4 hours? D.R.” Bush, under whom Rumsfeld served as defense chief for the second time, eulogized his longtime ally on Wednesday.
“On the morning of 9/11, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld ran to the hearth at the Pentagon to help the wounded and make sure the safety of survivors. For subsequent five years, he was in steady service as a wartime secretary of defense — a requirement he administered with strength, skill, and honor,” Bush said during a statement. “In a busy and purposeful life, Don Rumsfeld was a military officer, a member of Congress, a distinguished cabinet official in several administrations, a respected baron — and, together with his beloved wife, the co-founder of a charitable foundation. Later in life, he even became an app developer. All his life, he was good-humored and big-hearted, and he treasured his family in particular else. Laura and that I am very sorry to find out about Don’s passing, and that we send our deepest sympathy to Joyce and their children.
We mourn an exemplary employee and a really good man.” Rumsfeld resigned as defense secretary in 2006 as Americans expressed outrage over the Iraq War, which was fast becoming a far-off policy liability for the Bush administration. Rumsfeld largely stood by his actions, though, in his 2011 memoir and in his farewell remarks to the Pentagon in 2006. “A conclusion by our enemies that us lacks the desire or the resolve to hold out our missions that demand sacrifice and demand patience is equally as dangerous as an imbalance of conventional military power,” he said. “It could be comforting to some to think about graceful exits from the agonies and, indeed, the ugliness of combat. But the enemy thinks differently.” Rumsfeld arrived in Washington, D.C., within the late 1950s as an accomplished Ivy League athlete and a veteran airman for the U.S. Navy.
The Chicago-born Boy Scout quickly fell into the pace of state and would eventually be elected to serve four terms as a Republican representing Illinois’ 13th district . Rumsfeld resigned from Congress in 1969 to hitch the administration of then-President Nixon . Years later, following Nixon’s fall from grace and supreme resignation, Rumsfeld returned to the White House to serve his first stint as defense secretary, under President Ford. it had been there that Rumsfeld would solidify an alliance with Dick Cheney, who went on to function Bush’s vice chairman, and alongside whom Rumsfeld would later make key policy decisions. Following his time with Ford, Rumsfeld left politics in search of success within the corporate world — which eventually saw him overseeing two Fortune 500 companies as chief executive.
A generation later, Rumsfeld entered his second act in Washington, emerging as a surprise pick for Bush’s defense secretary. The current secretary, Lloyd Austin, on Wednesday said during a statement that “Rumsfeld was propelled by his boundless energy, probing intellect, and abiding commitment to serve his country. On behalf of the Department of Defense, I extend my deep condolences to his family and loved ones.”