Donald Rumsfeld, who charted an impressive Washington career serving under four presidents but whose legacy largely was defined by his controversial tenure as defense secretary during the Iraq War, has died, his family announced Wednesday. He was 88.
Rumsfeld, a confident adviser to power with a trenchant style that made him admirers as well as enemies, had a long and winding career in public life that spanned five decades. He had been a congressman and a White House chief of staff, and had a successful corporate career, too. But it was his second term as secretary of defense from 2001 to 2006 – during the most tumultuous period of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars – for which he is most known.
“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,” Rumsfeld’s family said in a statement. “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 changed 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.”
While his time as President Gerald Ford’s defense secretary was dominated by lofty management challenges regarding the direction of America’s changing military, his role under President George W. Bush was quite different — and set in an instant.
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