Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dies at 88

In a statement Wednesday, Rumsfeld’s family said he “was surrounded by family in his beloved Taos, New Mexico.”

Associated Press

Jun 30, 2021, 8:24 PM

Updated 1,027 days ago

Share:

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dies at 88
Donald Rumsfeld, the two-time defense secretary and one-time presidential candidate whose reputation as a skilled bureaucrat and visionary of a modern U.S. military was unraveled by the long and costly Iraq war, died Tuesday. He was 88.
In a statement Wednesday, Rumsfeld’s family said he “was surrounded by family in his beloved Taos, New Mexico.”
President George W. Bush, under whom Rumsfeld served as Pentagon chief, hailed his “steady service as a wartime secretary of defense — a duty he carried out with strength, skill, and honor.”
Regarded by former colleagues as equally smart and combative, patriotic and politically cunning, Rumsfeld had a storied career in government under four presidents and nearly a quarter century in corporate America.
“Rummy,” as he was often called, was ambitious, witty, energetic, engaging and capable of great personal warmth. But he irritated many with his confrontational style. An accomplished wrestler in college, Rumsfeld relished verbal sparring and elevated it to an art form; a biting humor was a favorite weapon.
Still, he built a network of loyalists who admired his work ethic, intelligence and impatience with all who failed to share his sense of urgency.
Rumsfeld is the only person to serve twice as Pentagon chief. The first time, in 1975-77, he was the youngest ever. The next time, in 2001-06, he was the oldest.
He made a brief run for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination, a spectacular flop that he once described as humbling for a man used to success at the highest levels of the government, including stints as White House chief of staff, U.S. ambassador and member of Congress.
For all Rumsfeld’s achievements, it was the setbacks in Iraq in the twilight of his career that will likely etch the most vivid features of his legacy.
Nine months into his second tour as defense secretary, on Sept. 11, 2001, suicide hijackers attacked the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon, thrusting the nation into wars for which the military was ill-prepared. Rumsfeld oversaw the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and toppling of the Taliban regime. Frequently presiding at televised briefings on the war, Rumsfeld became something of a TV star, applauded for his blunt talk and uncompromising style.
By 2002 the Bush administration’s attention shifted to Iraq, which played no role in the Sept. 11 attacks. The war effort in Afghanistan took a back seat to Iraq, opening the way for the Taliban to make a comeback and prevent the U.S. from sealing the success of its initial invasion.
The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was launched in March 2003. Baghdad fell quickly, but U.S. and allied forces soon became consumed with a violent insurgency. Critics faulted Rumsfeld for dismissing the pre-invasion assessment of the Army’s top general, Eric Shinseki, that several hundred thousand allied troops would be needed to stabilize Iraq.
Rumsfeld twice offered his resignation to Bush in 2004 amid disclosures that U.S. troops had abused detainees at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison — an episode he later referred to as his darkest hour as defense secretary.
Not until November 2006, after Democrats gained control of Congress by riding a wave of antiwar sentiment, did Bush finally decide Rumsfeld had to go. He left office in December, replaced by Robert Gates.
Rumsfeld is survived by his wife, Joyce, three children and seven grandchildren.


More from News 12
1:57
3 families displaced by fast-moving fire at North Amityville home

3 families displaced by fast-moving fire at North Amityville home

2:02
Sunny and mild Tuesday before rain returns Wednesday

Sunny and mild Tuesday before rain returns Wednesday

2:53
Sachem schools consider staffing and program cuts, piercing tax cap as budget vote looms

Sachem schools consider staffing and program cuts, piercing tax cap as budget vote looms

DA: Syosset man pleads guilty in DWI crash that killed married couple in Laurel Hollow

DA: Syosset man pleads guilty in DWI crash that killed married couple in Laurel Hollow

0:29
Jericho named Long Island's top rated high school by U.S. News and World Report

Jericho named Long Island's top rated high school by U.S. News and World Report

0:51
NCC working with food truck vendors to provide food for rest of semester

NCC working with food truck vendors to provide food for rest of semester

0:26
USDA warns of ground beef that may be contaminated with E.coli

USDA warns of ground beef that may be contaminated with E.coli

Is your mom awesome? Long Island tell us why your Mom Rocks!

Is your mom awesome? Long Island tell us why your Mom Rocks!

1:42
Made on Long Island: Nicolock Paving Stones in Lindenhurst

Made on Long Island: Nicolock Paving Stones in Lindenhurst

0:48
9 steps to take if your ‘fur-ever’ friend goes missing

9 steps to take if your ‘fur-ever’ friend goes missing

0:51
State police: Trooper struck in the face by combative driver during Southern State Parkway traffic stop

State police: Trooper struck in the face by combative driver during Southern State Parkway traffic stop

1:54
Ronkonkoma woman pleads not guilty to 49 counts of animal cruelty

Ronkonkoma woman pleads not guilty to 49 counts of animal cruelty

1:33
Hampton Bays woman retrieves phone, wallet she accidently dumped into recycling bin nearly 3 weeks ago

Hampton Bays woman retrieves phone, wallet she accidently dumped into recycling bin nearly 3 weeks ago

1:55
Long Islanders taught about dangers of toxic pollutants in drinking water

Long Islanders taught about dangers of toxic pollutants in drinking water

0:16
Police: Long Beach man punched nurse in abdomen at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital

Police: Long Beach man punched nurse in abdomen at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital

1:59
Long Island gets introduced to matzah pizza; proceeds will go toward charities

Long Island gets introduced to matzah pizza; proceeds will go toward charities

0:32
Spartans chosen as new mascot for Brentwood school district

Spartans chosen as new mascot for Brentwood school district

0:19
Police: 2 people hospitalized following Lawrence crash

Police: 2 people hospitalized following Lawrence crash

2:12
Amityville schools to receive $2 million from new state budget to help reduce budget deficit, save jobs

Amityville schools to receive $2 million from new state budget to help reduce budget deficit, save jobs

0:17
Man wanted for stealing $1,000 in merchandise from Centereach store

Man wanted for stealing $1,000 in merchandise from Centereach store