D.he former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is dead. The Republican politician died with his family in Taos, New Mexico, the family said in a statement on Wednesday (local time). Rumsfeld was 88 years old.
The Republican was head of the Pentagon from 2001 to 2006 under then-President George W. Bush and chief planner of the military operation in Iraq. Under ex-President Gerald Ford, Rumsfeld was the youngest defense secretary in US history from 1975 to 1977 – the oldest in the Bush cabinet at the time.
Rumsfeld had many critics. Former US Senator John McCain said in 2007 about his party colleague that he would “go down in history as one of the worst defense ministers ever”. In connection with the war, Rumsfeld resigned after a severe Republican defeat in congressional elections.
In 2008 the US Senate accused Rumsfeld of joint responsibility for human rights violations in US detention camps. In particular, the scandal surrounding the prison in Abu Ghraib near Baghdad brought Rumsfeld into distress. Rumsfeld was also accused of having contributed to subsequent ill-treatment in 2002 by authorizing “aggressive interrogation techniques” of suspected terrorists in the US Guantánamo prison camp in Cuba. After his political career, Rumsfeld switched to the private sector.