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Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense, dies at 88

Former US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld has died at eighty-eight, leaving behind his wife Joyce and their children and grandchildren

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Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense, dies at 88
DANE RHYS REUTERS

Former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfield has died at the age of eighty-eight. Born at the height of the Great Depression in 1932, Rumsfeld played a major role in the shaping of US foreign policy throughout the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Just a few days shy of his 89th birthday, his family released a statement saying that “It is with deep sadness that we share 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.”

Donald Rumsfeld graduated from Princeton University in 1954, marrying his wife Joyce P. Pierson in December of that year.

Rumsfeld served in the US Navy, later to be elected to the House of Representatives where he represented Illinois’ 13th district from 1963 to 1969. After leaving Congress, he represented the US as the Ambassador to NATO, then serving as White House Chief of Staff to President Gerald Ford. In 1975, he moved into the private sector, only returning to the government to serve as Secretary of Defense during the Bush-Cheney administration.

The late Secretary was the leader of the Defense Department on September 11th, 2001, and supported the invasion of Iraq. A close friend of Vice President Dick Cheney, the pair advocated that the war was necessary to stop Iraqi leader Saddam Hussien from using “weapons of mass destruction.”

The war in Iraq claimed the lives of over 4,500 US service members and it is estimated that around 200,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the conflict.

He also led the department when reports over the use of torture, and general treatment of prisoners at Abu Grave were released. As photos and videos of what was occurring inside the prison leaked, media outlets including the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and others called for Rumsfeld’s resignation.

In 2006, Sec. Rumsfeld resigned, leaving behind a complicated and lasting legacy.

Donald Rumsfeld leaves behind a large family including his wife Joyce, who will remember him “for his extraordinary accomplishments over six decades of public service.