Former Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, who presided over the Pentagon when the United States went to war against Iraq and Afghanistan, has died.
“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 grandfather,” his family said in a statement.
Rumsfeld died in New Mexico surrounded by his family.
“At 88, he was surrounded by family in his beloved Taos, New Mexico. History may remember him for his extraordinary accomplishments over six decades of public service, but for those who knew him best and whose lives were forever changes as a result, we will remember his unwavering love for his wife Joyce, his family and friends, and the integrity he brought to a life dedicated to country,” his family said.
Rumsfeld was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 9, 1932. He was educated at Princeton University. From 1954 to 1957, he served in the Navy.
He served four terms in the House before joining President Richard Nixon’s administration in 1969. He was head of the Defense Department during Gerald Ford’s presidency. He was the youngest person to ever hold that position.
The politician ran for President in 1988.
In 2001, Rumsfeld joined President George Bush’s administration, working as a Defense Secretary. After the September 11 attacks in 2001, he was directed to oversee the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.
Rumsfeld resigned as defense secretary in 2006 as Americans expressed outrage over the Iraq War, which was fast becoming a foreign 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 the United States lacks the will or the resolve to carry out our missions that demand sacrifice and demand patience is every bit as dangerous as an imbalance of conventional military power,” he said. “It may well be comforting to some to consider graceful exits from the agonies and, indeed, the ugliness of combat. But the enemy thinks differently.”
President Bush described Rumsfeld as “a man of intelligence, integrity, and almost inexhaustible energy.”
“On the morning of September 11, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld ran to the fire at the Pentagon to assist the wounded and ensure the safety of survivors,” the former President recalled. “For the next five years, he was in steady service as a wartime secretary of defense — a duty he carried out with strength, skill and honor.”
Rumsfeld is survived by his wife, Joyce, three children and seven grandchildren.
The elder statesman was 88.