Former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has died, according to a statement by his family released Wednesday.
Rumsfield passed away at the age of 88 due to multiple myeloma, according to Keith Urbahn, a spokesman for the family.
He served as Defence Secretary in the Gerald Ford administration during the early 1970s, and then headed the Pentagon again under then President George W. Bush in the early 2000s, reports Xinhua news agency.
“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,” a statement released by the family read.
He rose to infamy after his role in 2003 invasion of Iraq. His involvement in tackling two conflicts during his tenure in the position attracted the attention of mainstream media–Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan conducted less than a month following the 9/11 terror attack on American homeland in 2001, and the Iraq War launched in 2003.
Rumsfield ultimately had to pay the price for being the main architect of the Iraq war, and resigned in November 2006 after coming under pressure from both US and other NATO-member retired military leaders. It was later found out that there was no proof regarding Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction–the war was waged on a false pretense.
In his 2011 memoir, “Known and Unknown”, Rumsfeld, having retired from public service for over four years, still expressed no regrets over the decision to invade Iraq.
Moreover, a report by then US Army Major General Antonio Mario Taguba, meant to be classified, revealed that etween October and December of 2003, there were numerous instances of “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” by American soldiers and members of the intelligence community against prisoners detained at Abu Ghraib. Any many thought that Rumsfield should be held responsible for abuse of prisoners detained at Abu Ghraib.
Despite being called a war criminal by many of his critics, former President Goerge Bush considers him an “exemplary public servant and a very good man”.
(With IANS inputs)