Rumsfeld, Donald Henry
In 2000, a quarter century after he first served as secretary of defense, he was appointed again to the office by President George W. Bush. Rumsfeld was an advocate of a national ballistic missile defense shield and flexible military forces, and his efforts to transform and modernize the military made him the most significant defense secretary since Robert McNamara. He also, however, became noted for blunt, sometimes undiplomatic public comments and statements, some of which alienated American allies, and for asserting his authority in a manner that alienated other government officials and some military officers. His standing was also hurt when the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which he strongly advocated and set the parameters for, failed to find weapons of mass destruction and led to an occupation that U.S. forces found more difficult than predicted, in part because they had not inadequately prepared for it. The U.S. abuse and tormenting of Iraqi prisoners, revealed in May, 2004, and a result of interrogation techniques developed with Rumsfeld's encouragement, as well as the ongoing insurgent and sectarian violence in Iraq led to calls for his removal, but the president several times reaffirmed his support for Rumsfeld. He resigned in 2006 as the administration moved to change its strategy in Iraq to respond to the increasing insurgency there; Robert M. Gates succeeded him. Rumsfeld is the author of a sympathetic memoir of Gerald's Ford presidency and pardon of Nixon, When the Center Held (2018).
See his memoir (2011); biography by B. Graham (2009); J. Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet (2004); E. Morris, dir., The Unknown Known (documentary, 2013).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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