Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense, 1932-2021


Donald Henry Rumsfeld Who died At the age of 88, he was unique in that he was both the youngest and the oldest person to serve as the Secretary of Defense of the United States. His work was separated by a quarter of a century and was first affected by the Cold War and then what he called the “Global War on Terrorism.” They advertised him as a military strategist, he was willing to challenge Washington’s orthodoxy and project American power abroad, and he implemented this worldview with almost arrogant confidence.

Critics believe that it is his unwillingness to tolerate dissent, which adds color to his decisive legacy: to help persuade the president George W. Bush After the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, it invaded Iraq in 2003. Rumsfeld supported the Iraqi attack on Saddam Hussein even before he rejoined the government as Bush’s Secretary of Defense in 2001, becoming the main cheerleader of the government’s internal invasion. He vetoed the deployment schedule of the generals and ignored the diplomats who urged him to carry out detailed post-war plans. When the quick military victory over Saddam became an ill-prepared counter-insurgency in the United States, he took most of the responsibility.

Rumsfeld, circa 1975 © Getty Images

Rumsfeld was born in the Chicago area on July 9, 1932, the son of George and Jenny Tramsfield. He grew up in Winnetka, a suburb of Chicago, where he became Eagle Scout and attended New Trier High School. During World War II, the Rumsfeld family briefly lived in Coronado, California, when George served on an aircraft carrier in the US Navy.

After graduating from Princeton University, he joined the wrestling team, Rumsfeld He became a naval pilot in 1954. In the same year, he married Joyce Pearson and had two daughters and one son.

After being demobilized in 1957, he went to Washington to serve as a congressional assistant, and then worked as an investment banker in Chicago for two years. In 1962 he was elected to the US House of Representatives as a Republican from Illinois and served three terms. He resigned in 1969 and joined Richard Nixon’s new government as Director of the Office of Economic Opportunities, which has now been disbanded and is responsible for management Anti-poverty plan. One of his first recruits there was Dick Cheney, who later served as Vice President of the United States and was influential in bringing his mentor back to the Pentagon in 2001.

President Ronald Reagan and the then Special Envoy Rumsfeld in the Middle East held a press conference at the White House in 1983 © AP

Rumsfeld met with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad in 1983 © Getty Images

Rumsfeld prospered in the capital of the country. In 1971, he was appointed as the head of the Economic Stability Program, and two years later he was sent to Brussels as the US ambassador to NATO. But Nixon’s resignation in 1974 brought him back to his hometown, first managing President Gerald Ford’s transition team, then his White House chief of staff, Cheney as his deputy and later successor.

In 1975, 43-year-old Rumsfeld became the youngest Secretary of Defense in history. His appointment is unlucky. His predecessor, James Schlesinger, was fired by Ford after several disputes with then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

When Rumsfeld took office at the Pentagon, he proved to be a cunning bureaucrat. It seemed as if he inherited a poisonous holy grail. The army was not only in the throes of a difficult transition to an all-volunteer force, but also demoralized due to its defeat in the Vietnam War. In addition, the political trend has turned to increase defense spending.

He faced these challenges head-on and promoted the further reform of the military, the development of cruise missiles and the B1 bomber. The prototype he piloted as a pilot provided the Navy with more ships and of course a larger budget. He defended his ambitious plan on the grounds that the threat posed by the former Soviet Union was not low-demand and received a lot of additional federal funds in his first year.

Rumsfeld met with then Afghan leader Hamid Karzai at Bagram Airport in 2001 © Reuters

Rumsfeld shook hands with members of the U.S. military in an undisclosed location near the Afghanistan border in 2001 © Reuters

But he also fell out with the warlord. He rejected their conservative design of the M-1 tank, which was designed as NATO’s main tank, insisting that it can accommodate guns the size of the United States and Europe. After a non-diplomatic outbreak, he publicly punished General George Brown, then chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, including describing the British army as a “pathetic sight.”

The Democratic Party’s victory in the 1976 election prompted Rumsfeld to start working in the private sector. Prior to running the high-definition television pioneer General Instrument Corp, he served as the CEO and later chairman of GD Searle, a Chicago-based pharmaceutical company. From 1997 to 2001, he served as the chairman of Gilead Sciences, an American drug manufacturer famous for HIV drugs.

The U.S. Marine Corps cheered for Rumsfeld when he introduced Rumsfeld at a town hall meeting in Camp Pendleton, California in 2002 © AP

Rumsfeld holding a C-130 military aircraft while flying over Iraq in 2004 © AP

Although he did not return to the cabinet during the Republican administration of Ronald Reagan or long-time rival George HW Bush, he remains an influential spokesperson on security issues , And briefly weighed his presidential campaign after Reagan’s second term ended in 1988. In 1998, he was nominated for the Republican Party to lead the Ballistic Missile Committee in Congress. He concluded that the threat posed by “rogue” countries such as North Korea is very serious. His report supports the case on the National Missile Defense System passed by George W. Bush in 2001. He also publicly argued that if necessary, Saddam should be expelled by force.

His return to the Pentagon in 2001 was not smooth at the beginning. He immediately ordered a fundamental and extensive review of the structure of the U.S. Armed Forces, but the subsequent consultation process alarmed the upper ranks of the conservative military.

Rumsfeld is unwilling to push for a larger defense budget. In a sense, he was restrained because the New Bush administration intends to pass substantial tax cuts and does not want to significantly increase departmental expenditures. But his silence made him unpopular in some right-wing circles. By the summer of his first year, several authorities called for his replacement. But with the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, the situation has changed. After a jetliner flew into the Pentagon, he rushed out of the office and tried to rescue the trapped people, winning the admiration of the staff.

In 2004, Rumsfeld had a conversation with Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, then the Supreme Commander of the US Army in Iraq © EPA

Rumsfeld and China’s then Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan attended the welcoming ceremony of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense in Beijing in 2005 © Reuters

People will not only remember Rumsfeld’s bureaucracy, but also his motto. He admitted in 2002 that there were “known known information” and “known unknown information” in the Iraqi government’s weapons of mass destruction program. Although initially ridiculed, he later became the political vocabulary of leaders dealing with complex issues. Part.

Rumsfeld resigned in 2006, after the Republicans were hit hard in the midterm elections, and public dissatisfaction with the Iraq war was increasing.He basically retired from public life, but published two books-a memoir from 2011 entitled Known and unknown And the 2013 proposal, titled Rumsfeld’s Law: Leadership Courses in Business, Politics, War and Life. He also participated Errol Morris’ documentary About his life.

In his later years, he released a mobile game application called Churchill Solitaire, which was based on a version of the card game played by the late British Prime Minister. Six months before his death, he and nine other former U.S. Secretary of Defense co-authored an opinion piece in the Washington Post warning that the military should not be involved in Donald Trump’s efforts to prevent Joe Biden from becoming president. Play a role.

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