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Donald Rumsfeld

In office
January 20, 2001 – December 18, 2006
President George W. Bush
Deputy Paul Wolfowitz (2001-2005)
Gordon R. England (2005-2006)
Preceded by William Cohen
Succeeded by Robert Gates
In office
November 20, 1975 – January 20, 1977
President Gerald Ford
Deputy Bill Clements
Preceded by James R. Schlesinger
Succeeded by Harold Brown

In office
September 1974 – November 1975
President Gerald Ford
Preceded by Alexander Haig
Succeeded by Dick Cheney

In office
February 1973 – September 1974
President Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford
Preceded by David M. Kennedy
Succeeded by David K.E. Bruce

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 13th Congressional district
In office
January 3, 1963 – March 20, 1969
Preceded by Marguerite S. Church
Succeeded by Phil Crane

Born July 9, 1932 (1932-07-09) (age 77)
Evanston, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Joyce H. Pierson
Children Valerie J. Rumsfeld Richard
Marcy K. Rumsfeld Walczak
Donald Nicholas Rumsfeld
Alma mater Princeton University
Religion Presbyterian
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1954–1989
Rank US-O6 insignia.svg Captain
Unit Navy Reserve (1957–1975)
Individual Ready Reserve (1975–1989)

Donald Henry Rumsfeld (born July 9, 1932) is a United States businessman, retired Navy Fighter Pilot, diplomat, and politician who served as the 13th Secretary of Defense under President Gerald Ford from 1975 to 1977 and as the 21st Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006. He is both the youngest (43 years old) and the oldest (74 years old) person to have served as Secretary of Defense as well as the only person to have served in the position for two non-consecutive terms. Overall, he was the second longest serving defense secretary behind Robert McNamara. Rumsfeld was White House Chief of Staff during part of the Ford Administration and also served in various positions in the Nixon Administration. He served four terms in the United States House of Representatives, and served as the United States Permanent Representative to NATO. He was an aviator in the United States Navy between 1954 and 1957 before transferring to the Naval Reserve. In public life, he has served as an official in numerous federal commissions and councils.


Background and family


Donald Rumsfeld was born on July 9, 1932, in Evanston, Illinois,[1] to George Donald Rumsfeld and Jeannette Huster. His great-grandfather, Johann Heinrich Rumsfeld, emigrated from Weyhe near Bremen in Northern Germany in 1876.[2] Growing up in Winnetka, Illinois, Rumsfeld became an Eagle Scout in 1949 and is the recipient of both the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America[3] and its Silver Buffalo Award in 2006. He was a camp counselor at the Northeast Illinois Council's Camp Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan in the late 1940s and a ranger at Philmont Scout Ranch in 1949.[4] Rumsfeld later bought a vacation house 30 miles (48 km) west of Philmont at Taos, New Mexico.[5]


Rumsfeld went to Baker Demonstration School, a private middle school, and later graduated[6] from New Trier High School. He attended Princeton University on academic and NROTC partial scholarships (A.B., 1954). In extracurricular activities he was an accomplished amateur wrestler and a member of the Lightweight Football team playing defensive back, and at Princeton he became captain of both the varsity wrestling team and the lightweight football team. While at Princeton he roomed with another future Secretary of Defense, Frank Carlucci.

His Princeton University senior thesis was titled "The Steel Seizure Case of 1952 and Its Effects on Presidential Powers."[7]

In 1956 he attended Georgetown University Law Center but did not graduate.

Domestic life

Rumsfeld married Joyce H. Pierson on December 27, 1954. They have three children and six grandchildren.

Rumsfeld lives in St. Michaels, Maryland, in a former plantation house, site of Frederick Douglass's breaking by Edward Covey.[8]

Early career (1954–1976)

Military service

Rumsfeld served in the United States Navy during peacetime, from 1954 to 1957, as a naval aviator and flight instructor. His initial training was in the North American SNJ Texan basic trainer after which he transitioned to flying the Grumman F9F Panther fighter. In 1957, he transferred to the Naval Reserve and continued his naval service in flying and administrative assignments as a drilling reservist until 1975. He transferred to the Individual Ready Reserve when he became Secretary of Defense in 1975 and retired with the rank of captain in 1989.[9]

Early civilian career

In 1957, during the Eisenhower administration, he served as Administrative Assistant to David S. Dennison, Jr., a Congressman representing the 11th district of Ohio. In 1959, Rumsfeld then moved on to become a staff assistant to Congressman Robert P. Griffin of Michigan.[10]

He then did a two-year stint with investment banking firm A. G. Becker from 1960 to 1962.[11]

Member of Congress

Rumsfeld was elected to the United States House of Representatives for Illinois' 13th congressional district in 1962, at the age of 30, and was re-elected by large majorities in 1964, 1966, and 1968.[12]

In the Congress, he served on the Joint Economic Committee, the Committee on Science and Aeronautics, and the Government Operations Committee, as well as on the Subcommittees on Military and Foreign Operations. He was also a co-founder of the Japanese-American Inter-Parliamentary Council.[13]

As a young Congressman, Rumsfeld attended seminars at the University of Chicago, an experience he credits with introducing him to the idea of an all volunteer military, and to the economist Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics.[14] He would later take part in Friedman's PBS series Free to Choose.[15]

Nixon Administration

Rumsfeld resigned from Congress in 1969 — his fourth term — to serve in the Nixon administration as Director of the United States Office of Economic Opportunity, Assistant to the President, and a member of the President's Cabinet (1969–1970); named Counselor to the President in December 1970, Director of the Economic Stabilization Program; and member of the President's Cabinet (1971–1972).

In 1971 Nixon was recorded saying about Rumsfeld "at least Rummy is tough enough" and "He's a ruthless little bastard. You can be sure of that."[16][17][18][19][20]

In February 1973, Rumsfeld left Washington to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels, Belgium. He served as the United States' Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council and the Defense Planning Committee, and the Nuclear Planning Group. In this capacity, he represented the United States in wide-ranging military and diplomatic matters.

Ford Administration

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld (left) and White House Chief of Staff Dick Cheney (right) meeting with President Gerald Ford, April 1975.

In August 1974, he was called back to Washington to serve as transition chairman for the new president, Gerald R. Ford. He had been Ford's confidant since their days in the House when Ford was House minority leader. Later in Ford's presidency, Rumsfeld became White House Chief of Staff, where he served from 1974 to 1975. In October 1975, Ford reshuffled his cabinet in the Halloween Massacre. He named Rumsfeld to become the 13th U.S. Secretary of Defense; George H. W. Bush became Director of Central Intelligence. According to Bob Woodward's 2002 book Bush at War, a rivalry developed between the two men and "Bush senior was convinced that Rumsfeld was pushing him out to the CIA to end his political career."[21]

At the Pentagon, Rumsfeld oversaw the transition to an all-volunteer military. He sought to reverse the gradual decline in the defense budget and to build up U.S. strategic and conventional forces, skillfully undermining Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the SALT talks.[22] He asserted, along with Team B (which he helped to set up),[23] that trends in comparative U.S.-Soviet military strength had not favored the United States for 15 to 20 years and that, if continued, they "would have the effect of injecting a fundamental instability in the world."[9] For this reason, he oversaw the development of cruise missiles, the B-1 bomber, and a major naval shipbuilding program.[22]

Secretary Rumsfeld, seated at the Cabinet table, laughing with President Gerald Ford in 1975.

In 1977, Rumsfeld was awarded the nation's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.[24] Kissinger, his bureaucratic adversary, would later pay him a different sort of compliment, pronouncing him

a special Washington phenomenon: the skilled full-time politician-bureaucrat in whom ambition, ability, and substance fuse seamlessly

Henry Kissinger, Years of Renewal.[25]

Private career (1977–2000)


In early 1977 Rumsfeld briefly lectured at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School and Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, in his hometown of Evanston, Illinois.


From 1977 to 1985 Rumsfeld served as Chief Executive Officer, President, and then Chairman of G. D. Searle & Company, a worldwide pharmaceutical company based in Skokie, Illinois. During his tenure at Searle, Rumsfeld led the company's financial turnaround, thereby earning awards as the Outstanding Chief Executive Officer in the Pharmaceutical Industry from the Wall Street Transcript (1980) and Financial World (1981). In 1985, Searle was sold to Monsanto Company. Rumsfeld is believed to have earned around $12 million from this sale.[26]

Rumsfeld served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Instrument Corporation from 1990 to 1993. A leader in broadband transmission, distribution, and access control technologies for cable, satellite and terrestrial broadcasting applications, the company pioneered the development of the first all-digital high-definition television (HDTV) technology. After taking the company public and returning it to profitability, Rumsfeld returned to private business in late 1993.

From January 1997 until being sworn in as the 21st Secretary of Defense in January 2001, Rumsfeld served as Chairman of Gilead Sciences, Inc. Gilead Sciences is the developer of Tamiflu (Oseltamivir), which is used in the treatment of bird flu.[27] As a result, Rumsfeld's holdings in the company grew significantly when avian flu became a subject of popular anxiety during his later term as Secretary of Defense. Following standard practice, Rumsfeld recused himself from any decisions involving Gilead, and he directed the Pentagon's General Counsel issue instructions outlining what he could and could not be involved in if there were an avian flu pandemic and the Pentagon had to respond.[28][29][30]

Continued part-time public service

During his business career, Rumsfeld continued public service in various posts, including:

  • Member of the President's General Advisory Committee on Arms Control—Reagan Administration (1982–1986);
  • President Reagan's Special Envoy on the Law of the Sea Treaty (1982–1983);
  • Senior Advisor to President Reagan's Panel on Strategic Systems (1983–1984);
  • Member of the U.S. Joint Advisory Commission on U.S./Japan Relations—Reagan Administration (1983–1984);
  • President Reagan's Special Envoy to the Middle East (1983–1984);
  • Member of the National Commission on the Public Service (1987–1990);
  • Member of the National Economic Commission (1988–1989);
  • Member of the Board of Visitors of the National Defense University (1988–1992);
  • Chairman Emeritus, Defense Contractor, Carlyle Group (1989–2005);
  • Member of the Commission on U.S./Japan Relations (1989–1991);
  • Member of the Board of Directors for ABB Ltd. (1990–2001);
  • FCC's High Definition Television Advisory Committee (1992–1993);
  • Chairman, Commission on the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States (1998–1999);
  • Member of the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission (1999–2000);
  • Member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR);
  • Chairman of the U.S. Commission to Assess National Security Space Management and Organization (2000);
  • Honorary Vice-Chancellor of Yale University (2001), honoring Rumsfeld's U.S. foreign policy work.

Rumsfeld served as United Way Inter-governmental Affairs Director in Washington, D.C. from 1986 to 1989. He was asked to serve the U.S. State Department as a "foreign policy consultant," a role he held from 1990 to 1993. He was also a board member of the RAND Corporation.

ABB and North Korea

Rumsfeld sat on ABB's board from 1990 to 2001. ABB—based in Zürich, Switzerland—is a European engineering giant formed through the merger between ASEA of Sweden and Brown Boveri of Switzerland. In 2000 this company sold two light-water nuclear reactors to KEDO for installation in North Korea, as part of the 1994 agreed framework reached under President Bill Clinton.

The sale of the nuclear technology was a high-profile contract. ABB's then chief executive, Göran Lindahl, visited North Korea in November 1999 to announce ABB's "wide-ranging, long-term cooperation agreement" with the communist government. Rumsfeld's office said that the Secretary of Defense did not "recall it being brought before the board at any time." But ABB spokesman Björn Edlund told Fortune that "board members were informed about this project."[31]

Special Envoy to the Middle East

Rumsfeld, Ronald Reagan's then-special envoy to the Middle East, meeting with Saddam Hussein during a visit to Baghdad, Iraq in December 1983, during the Iran–Iraq War. In later years, this image was downplayed by Rumsfeld and highlighted by his opponents as relations with Hussein's regime deteriorated. (Video frame capture; see the complete video here.)

During his period as Reagan's Special Envoy to the Middle East (November 1983–May 1984), Rumsfeld was the most senior conduit for crucial American military intelligence, hardware and strategic advice to Saddam Hussein, then fighting Iran in the Iran–Iraq War. The United States' pro-Iraq policy was adopted when the tide of the Iran–Iraq War turned strongly in Iran's favor, and it looked as if Iran might overrun Iraq completely. Although the United States was hesitant to support a Soviet client state[citation needed] , the prospect of greatly expanded Iranian influence in the region outweighed these concerns. When Rumsfeld visited Baghdad on December 19–December 20, 1983, he and Saddam Hussein had a 90-minute discussion that covered Syria's occupation of Lebanon; preventing Syrian and Iranian expansion; preventing arms sales to Iran by foreign countries; and increasing Iraqi oil production via a possible new oil pipeline across Jordan. According to declassified U.S. State Department documents, Rumsfeld also informed Tariq Aziz (Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister) that: "Our efforts to assist were inhibited by certain things that made it difficult for us ... citing the use of chemical weapons."[32] Rumsfeld brought many gifts from the Reagan administration to Saddam Hussein. These gifts included pistols, medieval spiked hammers and a pair of golden cowboy spurs. Until the 1991 Gulf War, these were all displayed at Saddam Hussein's Victory Museum in Baghdad which held all the gifts bestowed on Saddam by friendly national leaders.[33]

During his brief bid for the 1988 Republican nomination, Rumsfeld stated that restoring full relations with Iraq was one of his best achievements. This was not a particularly controversial position at a time when U.S. policy considered supporting a totalitarian yet secular Iraq an effective bulwark against the expansion of Iranian revolutionary Islamist influence.

George H. W. Bush and Clinton years

Rumsfeld was a member of the National Academy of Public Administration and a member of the boards of trustees of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation; the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowships; the Hoover Institution at Stanford University; and the National Park Foundation. He was also a member of the U.S./Russia Business Forum and Chairman of the Congressional Leadership's National Security Advisory Group.

During the 1996 presidential election, Rumsfeld served as national chairman to the campaign of Bob Dole.[34]

Rumsfeld was a founder and active member of the Project for the New American Century, a neo-conservative think-tank dedicated to maintaining US Primacy. On January 29, 1998, he signed a PNAC letter calling for President Bill Clinton to implement "regime change" in Iraq.[35]

From January to July 1998 Rumsfeld chaired the nine-member Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States. They concluded that Iraq, Iran, and North Korea could develop intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities in five to ten years and that U.S. intelligence would have little warning before such systems were deployed.[36]

Presidential and Vice Presidential aspirations

During 1976 Republican National Convention, Rumsfeld received one vote for Vice President of the United States, although he did not seek the office, and the nomination was easily won by Ford's choice, Senator Bob Dole.[37] During the 1980 Republican National Convention he also received one vote for V.P.[38] Economist Milton Friedman said that he regarded Reagan's pick of Bush as "the worst decision not only of his campaign but of his presidency," and that Rumsfeld was his preference. "Had he been chosen," Friedman noted, "I believe he would have succeeded Reagan as president and the sorry Bush-Clinton period would never have occurred."[39]

Rumsfeld briefly sought the Presidential nomination in 1988, but withdrew from the race before primaries began.[40]

During the 1996 election he initially formed a presidential exploratory committee, but declined to formally enter the race.

Return to government (2001–2006)

Rumsfeld and Ariel Sharon, 2001

Rumsfeld was named Defense Secretary soon after President George W. Bush took office in 2001. He immediately announced a series of sweeping reviews intended to transform the U.S. military into a lighter force. These studies were led by Pentagon analyst Andrew Marshall.

Donald Rumsfeld with Dick Cheney.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Rumsfeld led the military planning and execution of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Rumsfeld pushed hard to send as small a force as possible to both conflicts, a concept codified as the Rumsfeld Doctrine.

Rumsfeld's plan resulted in a lightning invasion that took Baghdad in well under a month with very few American casualties. Many government buildings, plus major museums, electrical generation infrastructure, and even oil equipment were looted and vandalized during the transition from the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime to the establishment of the Coalition Provisional Authority. A violent insurrection began shortly after the military operation started.

After the German and French governments voiced opposition to invading Iraq, Rumsfeld labeled these countries as part of "Old Europe," implying that countries that supported the war were part of a newer, modern Europe.[41]

Rumsfeld is received by Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in November 2001.

Bush retained Rumsfeld after his 2004 presidential re-election. In December 2004, Rumsfeld came under fire after a "town-hall" meeting with U.S. troops where he responded to a soldier's comments about inferior military equipment by saying "As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time."[2]

September 11, 2001

Rumsfeld and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani speak at the site of the World Trade Center disaster in Lower Manhattan, on November 14, 2001.

Rumsfeld's activities during the September 11, 2001 attacks were outlined in a Pentagon press briefing on September 15, 2001. Within three hours of the start of the first hijacking and two hours of American Airlines Flight 11 striking the World Trade Center, Rumsfeld raised the defense condition signaling of the United States offensive readiness to DEFCON 3; the highest it had been since the Arab-Israeli war in 1973.[42]

Rumsfeld with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher alongside the Chairman of the JCS General Peter Pace.

On the morning of 9/11, Rumsfeld spoke at a Pentagon breakfast meeting, where he stated "sometime in the next two, four, six, eight, ten, twelve months there would be an event that would occur in the world that would be sufficiently shocking that it would remind people again how important it is to have a strong healthy defense department that contributes to... that underpins peace and stability in our world. And that is what underpins peace and stability."[43]

After the strike on the Pentagon, Rumsfeld went out to the parking lot to assist with rescue efforts.[44] He stated; "I wanted to see what had happened. I wanted to see if people needed help. I went downstairs and helped for a bit with some people on stretchers. Then I came back up here and started -- I realized I had to get back up here and get at it."[43]

Run-up to Iraq

At 2:40 p.m. in the afternoon of September 11, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was issuing rapid orders to his aides to look for evidence of Iraqi involvement, according to notes taken by senior policy official Stephen Cambone. "Best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H." — meaning Saddam Hussein — "at same time. Not only UBL" (Osama bin Laden), Cambone's notes quoted Rumsfeld as saying. "Need to move swiftly — Near term target needs — go massive — sweep it all up. Things related and not."[45][46]

Military decisions

Rumsfeld stirred controversy by quarreling for months with the CIA over who had the authority to fire Hellfire missiles from Predator drones, although according to The 9/11 Commission Report, the armed Predator was not ready for deployment until early 2002.[47]

Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon note:

These quarrels kept the Predator from being used against al Qaeda.... The delay infuriated the terrorist hunters at the CIA. One individual who was at the center of the action called this episode "typical" and complained that "Rumsfeld never missed an opportunity to fail to cooperate. The fact is, the Secretary of Defense is an obstacle. He has helped the terrorists."[48]

Following September 11, 2001, Rumsfeld was in a meeting whose subject was the review of the Department of Defense's (Contingency) Plan in the event of a war with Iraq (U.S. Central Command OPLAN 1003-98). The plan (as it was then conceived) contemplated troop levels of up to 500,000, which Rumsfeld opined was far too many. Gordon and Trainor wrote:

As [General] Newbold outlined the plan ... it was clear that Rumsfeld was growing increasingly irritated. For Rumsfeld, the plan required too many troops and supplies and took far too long to execute. It was, Rumsfeld declared, the "product of old thinking and the embodiment of everything that was wrong with the military."

[T]he Plan ... reflected long-standing military principles about the force levels that were needed to defeat Iraq, control a population of more than 24 million, and secure a nation the size of California with porous borders. Rumsfeld's numbers, in contrast, seemed to be pulled out of thin air. He had dismissed one of the military's long-standing plans, and suggested his own force level without any of the generals raising a cautionary flag.[49]

In a September 2007 interview with The Daily Telegraph, General Mike Jackson, the head of the British army during the invasion, criticised Rumsfeld's plans for the occupation as "intellectually bankrupt," adding that Rumsfeld is "one of those most responsible for the current situation in Iraq," and that he felt that "the US approach to combating global terrorism is 'inadequate' and too focused on military might rather than nation-building and diplomacy." [50]

In Rumsfeld's final television interview as Secretary of Defense, he responded to a question by Brit Hume as to whether he pressed General Tommy Franks to lower his request for 400,000 troops for the war by stating:

Absolutely not. That's a mythology [sic]. This town is filled with this kind of nonsense. The people who decide the levels of forces on the ground are not the Secretary of Defense or the President. We hear recommendations, but the recommendations are made by the combatant commanders and by members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and there hasn't been a minute in the last six years when we have not had the number of troops that the combatant commanders have requested.[51]

Rumsfeld told Hume that Franks ultimately decided against such a troop level.[52]

Role in US public relations effort

An April 2006 memo lists instructions to Pentagon staff including:

"Keep elevating the threat"... "Talk about Somalia, the Philippines etc. Make the American people realise they are surrounded in the world by violent extremists." [53][54]

As Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld was deliberate in crafting the public message from the Department of Defense. People will "rally" to the word "sacrifice," Rumsfeld noted after a meeting. "They are looking for leadership. Sacrifice = Victory." In May 2004, Rumsfeld considered whether to redefine the war on terrorism as a fight against "worldwide insurgency." He advised aides "to test what the results could be" if the war on terrorism were renamed.[54] Rumsfeld also ordered specific public Pentagon attacks on and responses to US newspaper columns that reported the negative aspects of the war, which he often personally reviewed before they were sent.[54]

In October 2003, Rumsfeld personally approved a secret Pentagon "roadmap" on public relations, calling for "boundaries" between information operations abroad and the news media at home, but providing for no such limits. The Roadmap advances a policy according to which as long as the US government does not intentionally target the American public, it does not matter that psychological operations, reach the American public. The Roadmap acknowledges that "information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and PSYOP, increasingly is consumed by our domestic audience" -- but argues that "the distinction between foreign and domestic audiences becomes more a question of USG [U.S. government] intent rather than information dissemination practices."[55]

Prisoner abuse

Department of Defense's (DOD) preliminary concerns for holding, housing, and interrogating captured prisoners on the battlefield were raised during the lead up to the Iraq War. Due to the history with Saddam’s military forces surrendering when faced with military action, many within the DOD including Rumsfeld and United States Central Command General Tommy Franks decided it was in the best interest of all to hand these prisoners over to their respective countries. Additionally, it was determined that maintaining a large holding facility was unrealistic at the time. However, the use of many facilities such as Abu Ghraib would be utilized to house prisoners prior to handing them over. However, Rumsfeld defended the Bush administration's decision to detain enemy combatants without protection under the Third Geneva Convention. There was therefore a large amount of pressure from many American organizations and international bodies to enforce the Geneva Conventions. Because of this, critics (including the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee 11-08 Executive Summary, vote 17-0) would hold Rumsfeld personally responsible for the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal. Rumsfeld himself said, "These events occurred on my watch as secretary of defense. I am accountable for them." [56]

Call for Donald Rumsfeld to resign in relation to the abuse.
"I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing [by prisoners] limited to four hours?"

In November 2006, the former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, in charge of Abu Ghraib prison until early 2004, told Spain's El Pais newspaper she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld that allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation. "The methods consisted of making prisoners stand for long periods, sleep deprivation ... playing music at full volume, having to sit in uncomfortably ... Rumsfeld authorised these specific techniques." She said that this was contrary to the Geneva Convention and quoted from the same "Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind." According to Karpinski, the handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: "Make sure this is accomplished." According to the February 16, 2008, edition of The Economist, Rumsfeld also wrote in a 2002 memo; "I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing [by prisoners] limited to four hours?" There have been no comments from either the Pentagon or U.S. Army spokespeople in Iraq on Karpinski's accusations.[57]

Manfred Nowak, the special representative on torture at the UN Commission on Human Rights, stated in January 2009 that Rumsfeld and others should be prosecuted for war crimes because of their approval of the interrogation methods used on prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.[58] In a memo read by Rumsfeld detailing how Guantanamo interrogators would induce stress in prisoners by forcing them to remain standing in one position for a maximum of 4 hours, Rumsfeld scrolled a handwritten note in the margin reading "I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to four hours? D.R." .[59]

Baghdad Museum actions

After the Iraq invasion in 2003, U.S. troops, the sole power in the city at the time, were intensely criticized for not protecting the treasures at the museum and other cultural institutions like the national library and the Saddam Art Center, a museum of modern Iraqi art.

When asked at the time why U.S. troops did not actively seek to stop the lawlessness, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld famously said: "Stuff happens ... and it's untidy and freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things. They're also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that's what's going to happen here."[60]

Calls for resignation

In an unprecedented move in modern U.S. history,[61] eight retired generals and admirals called for Rumsfeld to resign in early 2006 in what was called the "Generals Revolt," accusing him of "abysmal" military planning and lack of strategic competence.[62][63][64] Rumsfeld rebuffed these criticisms, stating that "out of thousands and thousands of admirals and generals, if every time two or three people disagreed we changed the secretary of defense of the United States, it would be like a merry-go-round."[65] Commentator Pat Buchanan reported at the time that "Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who travels often to Iraq and supports the war, says that the generals' and admirals' views mirror those of 75 percent of the officers in the field, and probably more."[66] Bush responded to the criticism by stating that Rumsfeld is "exactly what is needed,"[67] and also defended him in his controversial decider remark.


Rumsfeld shakes President Bush's hand as he announces his resignation, November 8, 2006.

On November 1, 2006, President Bush stated he would stand by Rumsfeld as defense secretary for the length of his term as president.[68] Rumsfeld wrote a resignation letter dated November 6, and, per the stamp on the letter, Bush saw it on Election Day, November 7.[69] In the elections, the House and the Senate shifted to Democratic control. After the elections, on November 8, Bush announced Rumsfeld would resign his position as Secretary of Defense. Many Republicans were unhappy with the delay, believing they would have won more votes if voters had known Rumsfeld was resigning.[69]

Bush nominated Robert Gates for the position.[70][71][72][73] At a press conference announcing the resignation of Rumsfeld and the nomination of Gates, Bush remarked, "America is safer and the world is more secure because of the service and the leadership of Donald Rumsfeld."[74]

On December 18, 2006, Rumsfeld's resignation took effect and Gates was sworn in as his successor. One of his last actions as defense secretary was to pay a surprise visit to Iraq on December 10, 2006, to bid farewell to the United States military serving in Iraq.[75]

Including his time serving as the 13th Secretary of Defense under President Ford from 1975 to 1977, Rumsfeld is the second-longest-serving Secretary of Defense in history, falling nine days short of becoming the longest-serving Pentagon chief (after the Vietnam-era Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara).

In a farewell ceremony on December 16, 2006, Rumsfeld's long-time political ally Vice President Dick Cheney, who worked with him in the Ford administration and who also had served as a secretary of defense, called the secretary "the finest secretary of defense this nation has ever had."

Private career (2006–)

In the months after his resignation, Rumsfeld toured the New York publishing houses in preparation for a potential memoir.[76] After receiving what one industry source labeled "big bids," he reached an agreement with the Penguin Group to publish the book under its Sentinel HC imprint.[77] Rumsfeld declined to accept an advance and has decided to donate any proceeds from the work to a charitable foundation he established to promote public service among "promising young individuals."[77] The memoir is due to be released in 2010.[77]

In May 2007, Time magazine reported that Rumsfeld was in the early stages of establishing an educational foundation that would provide fellowships to talented individuals from the private sector who want to serve for some time in government. Rumsfeld would finance the foundation.[78]

In September 2007, Rumsfeld received a one-year appointment as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University,[79] joining (among others) retired Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, former commander of US forces in Iraq, and fellow conservatives George Shultz and Newt Gingrich. He will participate in the institution's new taskforce studying post-September 11 ideology and non-state terror.

Additional information

  • He is portrayed by actor Scott Glenn in Oliver Stone's film W., a biopic based on books about George W. Bush.[80]
  • The preteen version of Rumsfeld is a main character in the Comedy Central cartoon Lil' Bush[81]
  • Rumsfeld is famous in popular culture as the originator of the much-quoted phrase "unknown unknowns", which he used at a press conference while Secretary of Defense in the George W. Bush administration. Rumsfeld's quote is a paraphrasing of the Confucius quote recited by Henry David Thoreau in his famous book Walden of "To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge."
  • According to Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer, advisers and staffers to Donald Rumsfeld had to persuade him not to edit his own entry on Wikipedia, which he referred to as "Wika-wakka."[82]

Electoral history


Affiliation history

Institutional affiliations

Government posts, panels, and commissions

Corporate connections and business interests


Intellectual heritage

See also


  1. ^ Donald Rumsfeld
  2. ^ Biography: Donald Rumsfeld November 8, 2006
  3. ^ Scouting magazine "Speakers Highlight Scouting's Core Values". Scouting 94 (4): 35. Scouting magazine.  September 2006
  4. ^ Secretary Rumsfeld's Remarks at the White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation — U.S. Department of Defense News Transcript — August 29, 2005
  5. ^ Donald and Joyce Rumsfeld Marriage Profile at
  6. ^ Habermehl, Kris (2007-01-25). "Fire Breaks Out At Prestigious High School". Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  7. ^ Princeton University Senior Theses Full Record: Donald Henry Rumsfeld
  8. ^ Kilborn, Peter T (2006-06-30). "Weekends With the President's Men". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  9. ^ a b DefenseLink's Rumsfeld Biography
  10. ^ RUMSFELD, Donald Henry on Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed April 22, 2007.
  11. ^ Donald Rumsfeld biography from the Associated Press. Accessed April 22, 2007.
  12. ^ Donald Rumsfeld biography from Accessed April 22, 2007.
  13. ^ Donald Rumsfeld biography from White House press release dated November 3, 1975. Accessed April 22, 2007.
  14. ^ "Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld speaking at Tribute to Milton Friedman (transcript)". United States Department of Defense. 
  15. ^ Free to Choose: Tyranny of Control
  16. ^ Nixon White House conversation 464-12
  17. ^ Alexander Cockburn, Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy, Simon and Schuster, 2007, page 20
  18. ^ Craig Unger, The Fall of the House of Bush: The Untold Story of how a Band of True Believers Seized the Executive Branch, Started the Iraq War, and Still Imperils America's Future, Simon and Schuster, 2007, page 50
  19. ^ Craig Unger, American Armageddon: How the Delusions of the Neoconservatives and the Christian Right Triggered the Descent of America--and Still Imperil Our Future, Simon and Schuster, 2008, page 50
  20. ^ Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2007
  21. ^ Woodward, Bob (2002). Bush At War. Simon and Schuster. pp. 21–22. ISBN 0743244613. 
  22. ^ a b "Defense Choice Made a Name As an Infighter". New York Times. 2001-01-08. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  23. ^ The Long March of Dick Cheney
  24. ^ DefenseLink's Secretary of Defense Biography
  25. ^ Mann, James (2003-10-08). "Rumsfeld's Roots". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  26. ^ "Winter comes for a Beltway lion; Rumsfeld rose and fell with his conviction intact". Chicago Tribune: p. 17. 2006-11-12. 
  27. ^ Press Releases: Gilead
  28. ^ - Roche, Gilead Sciences resolve Tamiflu conflict
  29. ^ Defense Secretary Rumsfeld sees growth in Gilead stake - October 31, 2005
  30. ^ "Bird Flu: A Corporate Bonanza for the Biotech Industry". Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  31. ^ "Rummy's North Korea Connection; What did Donald Rumsfeld know about ABB's deal to build nuclear reactors there? And why won't he talk about it?". Fortune: p. 75. 2003-05-12. 
  32. ^ George Washington University, National Archives, Iraq, PDF format
  33. ^ Lucas, Dean (2006-02-17). "Famous Pictures Magazine - Donald Rumsfeld Shakes Hands With Saddam Hussein". 
  34. ^ "Dole-Kemp Campaign names former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as its national chairman," Press Release by Dole-Kemp 1996, August 27, 1996
  35. ^ Project for the New American Century letter to U.S. President Clinton, January 29, 1998
  36. ^ Report of the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States
  37. ^ OurCampaigns
  38. ^ OurCampaigns
  39. ^ "Two Lucky People: Memoirs" by Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman. 1998. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press): p. 391
  40. ^ OurCampaigns
  41. ^ BBC NEWS | Europe | Outrage at 'old Europe' remarks
  42. ^ The 9/11 Commission Report
  43. ^, p.54
  44. ^ Roberts, Joel (September 4, 2002). "Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11". CBS News. Retrieved October 7, 2009. 
  45. ^ Borger, Julian (February 24, 2006). "Blogger bares Rumsfeld's post 9/11 orders". Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved October 7, 2009. 
  46. ^ [1] (pp. 189–90, 211–214)
  47. ^ Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Next Attack (New York: Times Books, 2005) ISBN 0-8050-7941-6 p. 161.
  48. ^ Id.Gordon, Michael R. and Bernard E. Trainor, Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq], 2006. Book excerpt from the Denver Post
  49. ^ "Gen Sir Mike Jackson's attack draws US ire", Daily Telegraph (online), September 1, 2007
  50. ^ Special Report with Brit Hume December 14, 2006
  51. ^ Blunt Talk About Iraq at Army School - New York Times
  52. ^ "Rumsfeld 'kept up fear of terror attacks'", Daily Telegraph UK, March 11, 2007
  53. ^ a b c "From the Desk of Donald Rumsfeld ...", Washington Post, November 1, 2007
  54. ^ National Security Archive, "Rumsfeld's Roadmap to Propaganda," National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 177, January 26, 2006,
  55. ^ "Rumsfeld 'the best'" — CNN
  56. ^ — "Rumsfeld okayed abuses says former US Army general" Reuters News
  57. ^ "Bush Should Face Prosecution, Says UN Representative". Deutsche Welle (German Public Radio - World Service). 2009-01-21.,,3966038,00.html. 
  58. ^ "Rumsfeld OK'd harsh treatment". USA Today. 2004-06-23. 
  59. ^ "D Rumsfelt - Stuff Happens", April 11, 2003 2:00 PM EDT
  60. ^ "The Anger Of The Generals Unprecedented In Modern Times". Space Dailiy (United Press International). 2006-04-19. Retrieved 2008-08-22. 
  61. ^ More Retired Generals Call for Rumsfeld's Resignation - New York Times
  62. ^ Baldwin, Tom (2006-04-18). "Revenge of the battered generals". The Times (London). Retrieved 2008-08-22. 
  63. ^ Bush Speaks Out for Rumsfeld
  64. ^ How many retired generals are there? - By Daniel Engber - Slate Magazine
  65. ^ WorldNetDaily: The generals' revolt
  66. ^ - Bush: Rumsfeld 'exactly what is needed' - April 14, 2006
  67. ^ ABC News: ABC News
  68. ^ a b Roberts, Kristin (2007-08-15). "Rumsfeld resigned before election, letter shows". Yahoo! News (Reuters). Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  69. ^ - Rumsfeld twice offered to resign during Abu Ghraib scandal - February 4, 2005
  70. ^ BBC NEWS | Americas | Rumsfeld replaced after poll loss
  71. ^ - Rice Offered to Resign Following Bush's 2004 Re-Election - Politics | Republican Party | Democratic Party | Political Spectrum
  72. ^ Rumsfeld quitting as defense secretary. Retrieved November 8, 2006.
  73. ^ President Bush Nominates Dr. Robert M. Gates to be Secretary of Defense
  74. ^ Rumsfeld Bids Farewell to GIs in Iraq
  75. ^ Publishers Abuzz Over Possible Rumsfeld Book - June 27, 2007 - The New York Sun
  76. ^ a b c Italie, Hillel (2008-04-14). "Donald Rumsfeld memoir to hit shelves in 2010". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  77. ^ Michael Duffy, "Donald Rumsfeld's Next Move", Time magazine, May 18, 2007
  78. ^ Rumsfeld appointed distinguished visiting fellow at Hoover. Accessed October 10, 2007. Stanford Report, September 12, 2007.
  79. ^ Patterson, John (2008-08-01). "W will only fuel the myth surrounding Dubya". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  80. ^ . 
  81. ^ <cite news|url=|title=Bush In 2008: 'I'm Not Going To Tell Some Gay Kid In The Audience That He Can't Get Married'|first=Ryan|last=Grim|date=2009-09-20|publisher=Huffington Post|accessdate=2009-09-21}}
  82. ^

External links



  • Donald Rumsfeld at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • White House Biography
  • Department of Defense Biography
  • By His Own Rules: The Ambitions, Successes, and Ultimate Failures of Donald Rumsfeld by Bradley Graham (PublicAffairs, 2009) ISBN 978-1586484217
  • Rumsfeld's War: The Untold Story of America's Anti-Terrorist Commander by Rowan Scarborough (Regnery Publishing, 2004) ISBN 0-89526-069-7
  • Rumsfeld: A Personal Portrait by Midge Decter (Regan Books, 2003) ISBN 0-06-056091-6
  • The Rumsfeld Way: The Leadership Wisdom of a Battle-Hardened Maverick by Jeffrey A. Krames (McGraw-Hill, 2002) ISBN 0-07-140641-7
  • Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy by Andrew Cockburn (Scribners, 2007) ISBN 1-4165-3574-8

Documentary video

Articles profiling Rumsfeld

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Marguerite S. Church
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 13th congressional district

Succeeded by
Phil Crane
Political offices
Preceded by
Bertrand Harding
Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity
Served under: Richard Nixon

Succeeded by
Frank Carlucci
Preceded by
Alexander Haig
White House Chief of Staff
Served under: Gerald Ford

Succeeded by
Dick Cheney
Preceded by
James R. Schlesinger
United States Secretary of Defense
Served under: Gerald Ford

Succeeded by
Harold Brown
Preceded by
William S. Cohen
United States Secretary of Defense
Served under: George W. Bush

Succeeded by
Robert Gates
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
David M. Kennedy
United States Ambassador to NATO
Served under: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford

Succeeded by
David K. E. Bruce


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Donald Rumsfeld (born July 9, 1932) was the United States Secretary of Defense, succeeded by Robert Gates. He also served as Defense Secretary 1975–1977 under President Ford, and in other roles under various presidents.



  • From Department of Defense news briefing, February 12, 2002 [1].
    • Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because 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. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.
    • The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, or vice versa.
      • Repeated almost verbatim four months later in Brussels at a NATO conference.
  • From a Press Conference at NATO Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium, June 6, 2002 [2][3]
Now what is the message there? The message is that there are known "knowns." There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don't know. So when we do the best we can and we pull all this information together, and we then say well that's basically what we see as the situation, that is really only the known knowns and the known unknowns. And each year, we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns.
It sounds like a riddle. It isn't a riddle. It is a very serious, important matter.
There's another way to phrase that and that is that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It is basically saying the same thing in a different way. Simply because you do not have evidence that something exists does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn't exist. And yet almost always, when we make our threat assessments, when we look at the world, we end up basing it on the first two pieces of that puzzle, rather than all three.
  • I can't tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks, or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that.
    • Interview with Steve Croft, Infinity CBS Radio Connect, November 14, 2002 [4]
  • And it is not knowable if force will be used, but if it is to be used, it is not knowable how long that conflict would last. It could last, you know, six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.
    • TownHall Meeting At Aviano Air Base in Italy, February 7, 2003 [5]
  • It's a difficult thing today to be informed about our government even without all the secrecy.
    • Chicago Tribune, April 13, 1966 [6]
I picked up a newspaper today and I couldn't believe it. I read eight headlines that talked about chaos, violence, unrest. And it just was Henny Penny -- "The sky is falling." I've never seen anything like it! And here is a country that's being liberated, here are people who are going from being repressed and held under the thumb of a vicious dictator, and they're free. And all this newspaper could do, with eight or 10 headlines, they showed a man bleeding, a civilian, who they claimed we had shot -- one thing after another.
From the very beginning, we were convinced that we would succeed, and that means that that regime would end. And we were convinced that as we went from the end of that regime to something other than that regime, there would be a period of transition. And, you cannot do everything instantaneously; it's never been done, everything instantaneously. We did, however, recognize that there was at least a chance of catastrophic success, if you will, to reverse the phrase, that you could in a given place or places have a victory that occurred well before reasonable people might have expected it, and that we needed to be ready for that; we needed to be ready with medicine, with food, with water. And, we have been.
Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things. They're also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that's what's going to happen here.
  • I don't believe anyone that I know in the administration ever said that Iraq had nuclear weapons.
    • At a hearing of the Senate's appropriations subcommittee on defense, May 14, 2003
  • You and a few other critics are the only people I've heard use the phrase immediate threat. I didn't, the president didn't. And it's become kind of folklore that that's what's happened.
  • But no terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
    • Hearing Before the House Armed Services Committee, September 10, 2002 [7]. Quoted on March 14, 2004 by Thomas Friedman in reply to the previous statement.
  • I'm not into this detail stuff. I'm more concepty.
    • Interview with the Washington Post January 09, 2002 [8]
  • Look at me! I'm sweet and lovable!
    • Foreign Press Center, 21 Jun 2002 [9]
  • [Osama bin Laden is] either alive and well or alive and not too well or not alive.
    • DoD News Briefing October 07, 2002 [10]
  • I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to four hours?
    • Written on a memo in reference to the treatment of Guantanamo prisoner and to the way he worked in his office as Secretary of Defense, 2002. Reported in The Washington Post, 24 June 2004.[11]
  • We're so conditioned as a people to think that a military campaign has to be cruise missiles and television images of airplanes dropping bombs, and that's just false. This is a totally different war. We need a new vocabulary. We need to get rid of old think and start thinking about this thing the way it really is.
    • on CBS' Evening News, October 9, 2001 [12]
  • We know where they [Iraq's WMD] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat....I would also add, we saw from the air that there were dozens of trucks that went into that facility after the existence of it became public in the press and they moved things out. They dispersed them and took them away. So there may be nothing left. I don't know that. But it's way too soon to know. The exploitation is just starting.
  • I didn't advocate invasion…I wasn't asked.
  • …it seems to me that it's up to all of us to try to tell the truth, to say what we know, to say what we don't know, and recognize that we're dealing with people that are perfectly willing to, to lie to the world to attempt to further their case and to the extent people lie of, ultimately they are caught lying and they lose their credibility and one would think it wouldn't take very for that to happen dealing with people like this.
    • From the 2004 documentary film Control Room
  • As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.
    • "Troops put Rumsfeld in the hot seat", CNN, 2004-12-08. URL accessed on 2006-04-07.
    • Responding to the question "Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles?"
  • I shouldn't get into ... this is diplomacy, and I don't do diplomacy.[15][16][17]
  • We do have a saying in America: if you're in a hole, stop digging ..... erm, I'm not sure I should have said that.[18][19][20]
  • What we are seeing is not the war in Iraq. What we're seeing is slices of the war in Iraq.[21][22][23]
  • It recalls to mind the statement by Winston Churchill, something to the effect that: I have benefited greatly from criticism, and at no time have I suffered a lack thereof. [24]
    • During the Nomination of Robert Gates for the next U.S. Secretary of Defense, November 8, 2006
  • It is pretty clear that the coalition can win in Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or another, but it will be a long, hard slog. [25]
    • referring to the ongoing War on Terrorism
  • Those who follow orders to commit such crimes will be found and they will be punished. War crimes will be prosecuted. And it will be no excuse to say, 'I was just following orders.' Any official involved in such crimes will forfeit hope of amnesty or leniency with respect to past action.
    • Pentagon briefing, March 20, 2003 [26]
  • Oh, Lord. I didn't mean to say anything quotable.
    • Interview with Associated Press Friday, September 7, 2001 [27]
  • Let's hear it for the essential daily briefing, however hollow and empty it might be. We'll do it.
    • Meeting with Media Pool Bureau Chiefs October 18, 2001 [28]
  • Congress, the press, and the bureaucracy too often focus on how much money or effort is spent, rather than whether the money or effort actually achieves the announced goal.
    • "Rumsfeld's Rules" January 12, 1974 [29]
  • It is easier to get into something than to get out of it.
    • Rumsfeld's Rules" January 12, 1974 [30]
  • Be able to resign. It will improve your value to the President and do wonders for your performance.
    • "Rumsfeld's Rules" January 12, 1974 [31]
  • There will be good moments, and there will be less good moments.
    • April 7, 2004, in reference to the 2004 spring uprising in Iraq [32]
  • I don't know what the facts are but somebody's certainly going to sit down with him and find out what he knows that they may not know, and make sure he knows what they know that he may not know, and that's a good thing.
    • Talking to reporters about whether President Bush knows about equipment inadequacies in Iraq[33]
  • Pieces of intelligence, scraps of intelligence…you run down leads and you run down leads, and you hope that sometimes it works.
    • DoD News Briefing May 01, 2002 [34]
  • And there is, I am certain, among the Iraqi people a respect for the care and the precision that went into the bombing campaign.
    • DoD News Briefing April 09, 2003 [35]
  • Stuff happens.
    • DoD News Briefing on the issue of looting and chaos in Baghdad, Saturday, April 11, 2003 [36]
  • I suppose the implication of that is the president and the vice president and myself and Colin Powell just fell off a turnip truck to take these jobs.
    • In response to Jeffrey Goldberg's question to comment on accusations that the Jewish lobby maneuvered the administration into war. The New Republic, October 8, 2007. [37]


  • Well, so be it. Nothing's perfect in life, so you have an election that's not quite perfect. Is it better than not having an election? You bet.
    • Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on September 23, 2004
    • Regards upcoming elections in Iraq
  • That just couldn't be any more wrong than spreading marmalade on a steaming pile of flapjacks.
    • Response to the suggestion that "your planning (or lack thereof) has created utter disaster zones in both those countries (Afghanistan and Iraq)".
  • I didn't know you were Secretary of Defense. Nice to meet you, Mr. Secretary of Defence. Maybe you can tell us: are we spreading our armed forces too thin? Because you'd know – you'd know where all of the Army's 33 brigades are stationed - and their missions, secret and otherwise. And while you were dispatching the U.S. forces and preparing strategies to defeat the enemies of freedom, you thought "Hey, I really think it would be swell if I spread our forces too thin." Right? That’s what you thought, didn't you?"
    • Response to a journalist who asked "Don’t you think we’re spreading our forces too thin?"
  • Here in the Bush Administration, we're all grown-up enough to not let little things like Ivy League rivalries get in the way of work.
  • This war has been marked by so many lies and evasions that it is not right to have the war end with one last lie.
  • Some have argued that the nuclear threat from Saddam Hussein is not iminent, that he is 5-7 years away from having a nuclear weapon. I would not be so certain.
    • Face the Nation
  • You may find people who will contend that patriotism is something to be a little bit embarrassed about or that honor is somewhat outdated as a notion and that concentrating on America's imperfection makes you a realist. Not so. That's the sign of a cynic. Being a cynic is easy. You can just sit back, heckle from the cheap seats, while others serve, storm beaches, build nations, meet their destinies. Idealists write history's stirring chapters; cynics read those chapters and seem not to understand. Choose to be an idealist. There have always been those who contend that what's wrong with the world is America. Don't believe it.

About Donald Rumsfeld

  • We are paying a very heavy price for the mismanagement — that's the kindest word I can give you — of Donald Rumsfeld, of this war. The price is very, very heavy and I regret it enormously. I think that Donald Rumsfeld will go down in history as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history.

External links

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Simple English

Donald Rumsfeld

In office
January 20, 2001 – December 18, 2006
President George W. Bush
Deputy Paul Wolfowitz (2001-2005)
Gordon R. England (2005-2007)
Preceded by William Cohen
Succeeded by Robert Gates

In office
November 20, 1975 – January 20, 1977
President Gerald Ford
Deputy Bill Clements
Preceded by James R. Schlesinger
Succeeded by Harold Brown

In office
September 1974 – November 20, 1975
President Gerald Ford
Preceded by Alexander Haig
Succeeded by Dick Cheney

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 13th Congressional district
In office
January 3, 1963 – March 20, 1969
Preceded by Marguerite S. Church
Succeeded by Phil Crane

Born July 9, 1932 (1932-07-09) (age 78)
Evanston, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse Joyce H. Pierson
Children Valerie J. Rumsfeld Richard
Marcy K. Rumsfeld Walczak
Donald Nicholas Rumsfeld
Alma mater Princeton University
Georgetown University Law Center
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Rank Captain

Donald Henry Rumsfeld (born 9 July 1932) is a United States businessman and politician. Rumsfeld was the 13th United States Secretary of Defense under President Gerald Ford from 1975 to 1977, and the 21st Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006. He is both the youngest (43 years old) and the oldest (74 years old) person to have held the position, as well as the only person to have held the position for two non-consecutive terms. Rumsfeld is also the second longest serving Secretary of Defense, behind Robert McNamara.

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