New Delhi: Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who led the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in the early 2000s, died at the age of 88, according to a statement released by his family, Wednesday.
”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. At 88, he was surrounded by family in his beloved Taos, New Mexico,” the statement read. However, the time specifying his demise was not mentioned.
His term as George W. Bush’s defense secretary from 2001-2006 was his second, after serving as the youngest secretary of defense in U.S. history under former President Gerald Ford from 1975-1977. He was a forceful man and oversaw the Pentagon’s response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, under George Bush’s Republican government.
In a separate statement, Bush praised Rumsfeld as “a man of intelligence, integrity, and almost inexhaustible energy” who “never paled before tough decisions, and never flinched from responsibility”.
In 2003, Iraq was invaded by the U.S. forces orchestrated by Rumsfeld claiming, Iraq had harbored weapons of mass destruction, but nothing was confirmed. Following the fallout of the conflict, Rumsfeld resigned after three years strongly defending his record. However, many experts believe otherwise and blamed him for his decisions which led to many difficulties in Iraq and the wider region.
Iraq And Afghan War
Rumsfeld administered the U.S. intrusion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the 2003 defeat of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. However, failing to keep a stable law and order in the aftermath, Iraq slid into bedlam with vicious Sunni and Shia Muslims. American troops stayed in Iraq until 2011, long after he left his post.
Numerous historians and military specialists reprimanded Rumsfeld for choices that prompted challenges in Iraq and Afghanistan. For instance, Rumsfeld demanded a small invasion force in Iraq in 2003, dismissing the perspectives of numerous commanders. The power was then deficient to balance out Iraq when Hussein’s administration fell.
As he did in Iraq, Rumsfeld, in 2001, sent a small troop to Afghanistan, and immediately overthrew the Taliban from power and afterward failed to set up rule of peace and law or catch Osama bin Laden, who stayed elusive for one more decade.
After Rumsfeld’s demise, Iyad el-Baghdadi, president of the Kawaakibi Foundation, a research and activist group focused on liberty in the Arab world tweeted, “Donald Rumsfeld was a war criminal who presided over illegal wars that involved wholesale massacres of civilians, systemic torture and plunder, and massive corruption. The country he helped break has still not recovered. This is his legacy. May he burn in hell for all eternity.”
In November 2006, after Democrats established their majority in the Congress by riding a flood of antiwar opinions, Bush concurred and decided that Rumsfeld needed to go. He left office in December, supplanted by Robert Gates.