Donald Rumsfeld obituary

Donald Rumsfeld, who has died aged 88, arguably did more damage to the US’s military reputation than any previous secretary of defence. An unbendingly ideological approach to international affairs, and a conviction that he could micromanage the vast resources of the Pentagon like those of a private company, ensured not only that the US became enmeshed in a disastrous and costly campaign in Iraq from 2003 but that it would be vilified for its harsh treatment of the country’s citizens.

As the war dragged on with little sign of progress and pressure grew for him to be replaced, President George W Bush initially declared that Rumsfeld would hold his post until the end of the presidency in January 2009. But in November 2006, in the aftermath of the scandal of torture and abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib military detention centre in Baghdad, the Army Times, voice of an outraged military, roundly declared that “Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised.”

며칠 후, voters in that year’s midterm elections endorsed this blast with an electoral drubbing for the Bush administration. Rumsfeld was immediately sacked, and largely disappeared from public life. 에 2011 he published a memoir, Known and Unknown, in which he defended his handling of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – and used to lay into any member of the Bush administration who had dared to dissent from his views.

He took the title of the book from the celebrated remark he had made in 2002, when asked about the lack of evidence to support the White House’s assertion that Iraq was supplying terrorist groups with weapons of mass destruction: “As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

Rumsfeld was the only politician to have taken charge of the Pentagon twice. 에 1975, at 43, he became its youngest-ever head under President Gerald Ford, holding the post for just over a year, and then, at 68, its second oldest, when Bush junior brought him back in 2001.

In his second period in the role, he was at first was compared to his 1960s predecessor Robert McNamara, who had effectively outwitted a bloated military bureaucracy to rationalise America’s defence posture. But McNamara had stuck to broad strategy and left the fighting to the generals (disastrously, as it turned out in Vietnam). Rumsfeld, a successful businessman with an unrivalled understanding of Washington’s bureaucratic maze, believed he could tear the whole structure up by the roots and drag it, totally reformed, into the new century.

His abrasive administrative style became notorious, taking the form of a blizzard of short, unsigned notes, which questioned anything and everything about equipment and doctrine. But he had barely settled in to his Pentagon office when his wide-ranging plans were brought sharply to earth by 19 men wielding Stanley knives.

The terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 not only made members of the new Bush administration realise that there was no such thing as Fortress America, but also had an immediate personal impact on Rumsfeld. He was at his desk being briefed by CIA officials when the hijacked American Airlines Boeing 757 crashed into the south-west wing of the building. He rushed to help in the rescue work before moving into the military command centre to deal with the wider crisis. His then became the most resolute voice at the cabinet table and he acted as the administration’s hardline front man in America’s call for a worldwide coalition against terrorism.

Between October and December 2001 the administration, with British support, launched retaliatory attacks on the Afghan Taliban regime for sheltering Osama bin Laden. 정권, though not its resistance, collapsed, but the seemingly irrelevant issue of attacking Iraq had also been proposed by Rumsfeld and such administration hawks as the vice-president, Dick Cheney. The two had earlier served together under presidents Richard Nixon and Ford; when Rumsfeld became Ford’s chief of staff at the White House in 1974, Cheney was originally his deputy and later took over the job when Rumsfeld went to the Pentagon.

Ronald Reagan 연령, Rumsfeld – by then running a highly profitable business – was sent to meet Saddam Hussein in the US’s effort to counter the Khomeini regime in Iran by re-establishing diplomatic relations with Iraq. His briefing for the visit included intelligence reports on Saddam’s use of chemical weapons both in the war with Iran and against his own people.

에 2001 Rumsfeld was still obsessed with the issue and cited it as one of the reasons to justify an attack, a proposition strongly resisted by the secretary of state, Colin Powell. When Powell was eventually won over, the US’s international campaign against Iraq’s reputed weapons of mass destruction got under way, culminating in the military assault opened by the US and its coalition partners in March 2003.

Underlying the chaos of the subsequent occupation had been Rumsfeld’s unshakeable belief that the Iraqi population would greet the invading coalition forces with jubilation and that everyday life in the ensuing secular democracy would resume within weeks. This view was constantly reinforced by one of his own key appointees, Douglas Feith, whom he put in charge of defence policy planning.

Feith launched a fierce bureaucratic struggle with the CIA and the state department. On Rumsfeld’s orders, and in some secrecy, he established an intelligence operation, dubbed the Office of Special Plans, devoted to collating reports of Saddam’s continued production of weapons of mass destruction.

Moreover, Feith (and therefore Rumsfeld) was encouraged by the exiled leader of the Iraqi national congress, Ahmed Chalabi, to believe that the Iraqi people would rise in their millions to greet their liberators and that America’s military presence could rapidly be reduced once the actual fighting was over. (It was a view firmly rejected by the State Department, which had produced an enormous set of briefings about the complexities of running Iraq after Saddam’s fall.)

This increased Rumsfeld’s resistance to the army’s assessment of the forces needed to conquer Iraq. The initial version of Operations Plan 1003-98 for Iraq, which had been regularly tested in Pentagon war games, envisaged the deployment of 500,000 troops, which Rumsfeld immediately dismissed as absurd. When the army argued that, having needed 40,000 peacekeepers to control 2 million inhabitants in Kosovo, it would clearly need at least 480,000 to cope with 24 million Iraqis, Rumsfeld dismissed this as “old thinking” and set the absolute maximum at 125,000.

This was based on what turned out to be two critical fallacies. The first was that Iraqi army units would defect en masse and fight alongside coalition forces (the Pentagon had even printed special “Articles of Capitulation” for Iraqi force commanders to sign). The second was that there would be only a limited need for US involvement in any postwar civilian administration.

Once Rumsfeld had accepted these propositions, what followed was almost inevitable. Central to the Pentagon’s planning for any major military excursion is a vast computerised project known as the time-phased force and deployment list, or TPFDL (colloquially called the “tip-fiddle”), used to work out in minute detail the order in which equipment, troops and supplies must be assembled and dispatched to any field of operations.

The Iraq tip-fiddle covered everything from tanks to soap, and generated some 40 pages of dates, times, ships, combat troops and support staff. It represented all that Rumsfeld hated about the lumbering military bureaucracy he had sworn to reform. He not only rejected the number of troops and the gear they would need, but decreed that the whole plan should be junked so that the size, composition and deployment of the invading force could be tightly controlled by him.

The abysmal consequences of this decision became apparent as the war evolved and the compromise total of 140,000 American soldiers began their advance on Baghdad. There had, 물론이야, been none of the anticipated Iraqi defections: instead, the advancing US troops met stiff resistance and needed rapid reinforcement.

The obvious source in the original tip-fiddle deployment was the 4th Infantry Division, the army’s most technologically advanced unit. But all its tanks and equipment were still aboard 30 vessels that had been cruising around the Mediterranean for weeks while Washington vainly tried to persuade Ankara to let them land in Turkey and attack Iraq from the north (a diplomatic negotiation that the cancelled tip-fiddle would have triggered). In the end, a squadron of the 2nd Armoured Cavalry Regiment and all its equipment had to be scrambled into an emergency airlift from its US base.

그의 2011 memoir, Rumsfeld wrote that the cause of the mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib by their American guards was partly “a lack of training. Part of it was a lack of discipline and supervision. And part of it was the failure from the outset of the department of the army and joint staff to provide the appropriate and agreed-upon staff and support to General Sanchez’s headquarters in Iraq.”

Notably absent from this list was the name of the official who had overruled the military deployment plan – Rumsfeld himself. An official inquiry into the mistreatment, chaired by James Schlesinger, blamed a failure of leadership in the Pentagon and painted an extraordinary picture. Published in August 2004, the report stated that one of the brigade commanders had told the inquiry panel that the loss of the tip-fiddle ensured that “anything that could go wrong went wrong”.

The 800th Military Police (MP) Brigade, a reserve unit of civilian volunteers, had been assigned to handle detainees. During initial preparation for the war, the part-time military police had been separated from their equipment for so long that they had not been able to train before deployment. When they arrived in Iraq, their equipment still did not follow them. “Brigade commanders did not know who would be deployed nextA recently arrived battalion HQ would be assigned the next arriving MP companies, regardless of their capabilities or any other prior command and training relationships.”

This eventually meant that poorly trained civilian volunteers became responsible for guarding around 7,000 rebellious prisoners at Abu Ghraib, many of whom had no idea why they had been arrested. The guards often could not communicate with one another because they had the wrong sort of radio, and therefore had little idea of what was happening elsewhere in the prison. Most did not know who was authorised to give them orders, or whether such orders were legal. The upshot of this chapter of Rumsfeld’s war on bureaucracy was the torture and abuse of prisoners revealed in a series of shocking photographs that were published around the world.

Rumsfeld’s miscalculation of Iraqi citizens’ response to the invasion compounded the widespread chaos which followed Saddam’s fall in April 2003. (He defended the looting of Baghdad as an inevitable part of the transition process, with the notorious remark “stuff happens”.) Rumsfeld had originally asked a retired general, Jay Garner, to establish a postwar civil administration, but he had been given few resources. The general also blotted his political copybook with Rumsfeld by falling out with Chalabi and by recruiting State Department Arabists to help him out.

Within three weeks Rumsfeld arbitrarily replaced Garner with Paul Bremer, a former diplomat and long-time associate of Henry Kissinger. Bremer insisted he could only do the job with powers analogous to those of an imperial viceroy. Rumsfeld persuaded President Bush to agree and so set the scene for the most egregious misjudgments of the whole Iraqi adventure.

Even Kissinger described Bremer as a control freak and his record in Baghdad confirmed it. He created the Coalition Provisional Authority and its first executive order, issued within days of his arrival, barred the first four levels of Ba’ath party members from official employment. This immediately stripped 30,000 of the most knowledgable Iraqi civil servants and teachers of their jobs and salaries.

A week later, Bremer’s second executive order disbanded the Iraqi army and its associated organisations, throwing a further 300,000 people into penury, causing widespread rioting, and removing the only organisation which might have abated the increasing anarchy. Many of the affected troops inevitably joined the armed opposition. This disbandment was in total contravention of official US policy, as Bush himself later publicly acknowledged, but Bremer’s boss at the Pentagon neither countermanded the order nor undid what was acknowledged as the worst political mistake of the Iraq campaign.

후 13 disastrous months Bremer quit, signing over sovereignty to the Iraqi interim government, leaving Baghdad to the suicide bombers and to its own squabbling politicians.

In later years, Rumsfeld continued to defend his handling of the war, showing no remorse for the mess he had created, nor for his erroneous claims about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. He did later admit that the subsequent disorder in Iraq and Syria, including the rise of Islamic State, was “something that, generally, people had not anticipated”.

Born in Chicago, Donald was the son of George Rumsfeld, an estate agent, and his wife, Jeannette (nee Husted). He was educated at New Trier high school, in Winnetka, Illinois, and then won a scholarship to Princeton. 에 1954, he graduated, married Joyce Pierson and signed on for three years as a naval pilot.

Determined that politics would be his preferred career, he moved to Washington as a congressional administrative assistant and then, after a brief period in merchant banking, ran for Congress in his home suburb on Chicago’s North Side, winning the first of three terms in the House of Representatives (1963-69). He quickly established his reputation as a vigorous rightwinger, organising a group of reform-minded young legislators, known as Rumsfeld’s Raiders, with policies including massive increases in defence spending and reductions in the anti-poverty programmes of the time. His energy attracted the notice of Nixon, then positioning himself for the 1968 election.

As president, Nixon brought Rumsfeld into his first cabinet to run the Office of Economic Opportunity. The implicit brief was to cut back on the Democratic extravagance of the Kennedy-Johnson years, but Rumsfeld’s principal achievement was, 사실로, to make the office far more efficient and its anti-poverty programmes therefore more effective.

When the 1972 economic crisis obliged Nixon to impose a wage and price freeze, abandon the dollar’s fixed convertibility, and impose import surcharges, Rumsfeld was put in charge of the ensuing “economic stabilisation programme”. It proved a political bed of nails on which he was rapidly skewered by enraged business leaders, trade unionists and America’s international trading partners.

After Nixon’s re-election in 1972, Rumsfeld moved to Brussels as US ambassador to Nato, remaining there until brought back to head the team preparing for the imminent change of presidency, with the clouds gathering over the Watergate scandal. When vice-president Ford took over in August 1974, Rumsfeld became White House chief of staff.

The following year, when Schlesinger was unexpectedly turfed out of the Pentagon, Rumsfeld took over. At 43, it made him the youngest defence secretary in US history. In office, Rumsfeld confirmed his brisk administrative skills and continued the hawkish stance he had displayed as a congressman. He increased the defence budget and accelerated the development of the B-1 bomber, the Trident submarine missile and the land-based MX missile. He also embarked on an aggressive sales drive for US weaponry and staged a resolute campaign against the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT), then under negotiation with the Soviet Union.

With the accession of Jimmy Carter, Rumsfeld had a spell as lecturer at Princeton before being recruited as chief executive of the international pharmaceutical company GD Searle, then in serious financial trouble. Within eight years its fortunes were transformed and Rumsfeld was lauded as a remarkable company doctor.

에 1985 he resigned from Searle’s to go into business for himself, 그리고 1990, he was again asked to rescue an ailing business, the General Instrument Corporation, making it sufficiently profitable for a successful stock-market flotation within three years.

그 동안에, he was assiduous in maintaining his political contacts, and when George HW Bush took office Rumsfeld served as a presidential adviser on economic policy. During the Clinton years he chaired a commission to assess the potential threat from ballistic missiles (1998), and a similar probe into the security problems of space (2000). This networking paid off and in 2001 George W Bush gave him the second term at the Pentagon that provided the platform for him to apply business principles to military operations.

He is survived by Joyce and their three children, Valerie, Marcy and Nick.

Donald Henry Rumsfeld, politician and businessman, born 9 칠월 1932; died 29 유월 2021

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