Ex-US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld dead at 88 | DW News

Donald Rumsfeld, the former US defense secretary who was the main architect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, has died at the age of 88, his family said on 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 family said in a statement.

He served in the post twice. Rumsfeld was defense secretary under Gerald Ford from 1975 to 1977 and President George W Bush from 2001 to 2006, before resigning from the position amid the turmoil in post-war Iraq.

Under President Ford, he was the youngest person to ever hold that office after being appointed at the age of 43.

In his second stint as Pentagon chief in 2001 — then the oldest ever at the age of 74 — he promised to slash military bureaucracy, seeking to make it leaner and more agile. But the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York put the focus on lengthy and costly military interventions abroad.
Rumsfeld was one of the loudest voices in support of the Bush administration’s "war on terror," overseeing the US military’s response against Al-Qaida in Afghanistan and backing the use of Guantanamo Bay to detain suspected extremists without charge. In 2002, his focus shifted to toppling Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, with the US leading a so-called "coalition of the willing" made up of a handful of allies such as the UK, Spain and Portugal. He argued Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction that they were a threat to global security, but no such weapons were ever found.

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