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Former defense secretary and one-time presidential candidate Donald Rumsfeld, who oversaw the deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, has died at 88.
“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,” a statement from Rumsfeld’s family reads. “At 88, he was surrounded by family in his beloved Taos, New Mexico.”
Rumsfeld served under George W. Bush as Pentagon chief and was responsible for the Pentagon’s response to 9/11 with attacks on al-Qaida bases in Afghanistan. Attention was later shifted to Iraq in 2003, with forces deployed to stop dictator Saddam Hussein from using weapons of mass destruction. Despite Rumsfeld’s insistence that these weapons posed a threat to American security, no such weapons were found.
He was regarded as one of the most notable figures in the Bush administration’s “war on terror,” although he attempted to resign on two separate occasions amid coverage of U.S troops abusing detainees at Abu Graib prison in Iraq. He was finally fired by Bush in Nov. 2006, and was replaced by Robert Gates a month later.
Before his time under Bush, Rumsfeld served as the Pentagon chief from 1975 to 1977. During the 1988 elections, he briefly ran as a Republican presidential nomination hopeful. He is survived by his wife Joyce, three children, and seven grandchildren.