Ex-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld — who oversaw the launch of Iraq and Afghanistan wars — dead at 88

Ex-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld — who oversaw the launch of Iraq and Afghanistan wars — dead at 88

Donald Rumsfeld, who served as secretary of defense under President George W. Bush, has died at the age of 88, the New York Times reports.

Rumsfeld was among the neoconservatives who did the most to shape Bush's foreign policy following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, greatly encouraging the invasion of Iraq and overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein — a move that many critics of Bush's foreign policy have blamed, in part, for the rise of ISIS (Islamic State, Iraq and Syria) in that part of the world.

Rumsfeld's family, in an official statement, said, "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."

Born on July 9, 1932, Rumsfeld was a fixture in GOP politics for decades — serving in President Richard Nixon's administration in the early 1970s before serving as secretary of defense under President Gerald R. Ford in the mid-1970s. Rumsfeld returned to the private sector following Ford's loss to Democrat Jimmy Carter in 1976's presidential election, but he became secretary of defense for the second time when he joined Bush's administration in 2001.

Rumsfeld, known for his hawkish foreign policy views, resigned as defense secretary following a giant blue wave in the 2006 midterms that found Democrats regaining control of both branches of Congress — a wave that many pundits attributed to the unpopularity of the Iraq War.

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