A sad day dawns, Swipesters,
A period of national mourning has begun in the the United States of America following the death of Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumssfeld in the early hours of this morning, aged 73. Born July 9, 1932, Rumsfeld had been the Secretary of Defense of the United States since January 20, 2001, under President George W. Bush. He was the 21st Secretary of Defense, and the oldest person to have held that position. He served under President Gerald Ford as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977, making him also the youngest person to have held the job.
Donald Henry Rumsfeld, 1932-2005
Born in Evanston, Illinois, of German descent - his grandfather was originally from Bremen in Northern Germany - Donald Rumsfeld graduated from New Trier High School and attended Princeton University on scholarship (BA, 1954) where he was an accomplished amateur wrestler and served in the United States Navy (1954-57) as a Naval aviator. He then went on to attend and subsequently drop out of Georgetown University Law Center (1957). That same year, during the Eisenhower Administration, he served as Administrative Assistant to a Congressman from Ohio. After a stint with investment banking firm A. G. Becker from 1960 to 1962, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Illinois in 1962, at the age of 30, and was re-elected in 1964, 1966, and 1968.
Rumsfeld: "Courage and integrity"
But Rumsfeld - or "Rummy" as he was known by people he would no doubt have scorned for giving even this least approachable of men a ridiculous, pally-sounding nickname - will be forever remembered as the man of courage and integrity whose bold plan to bring order to the Middle East has freed that region from the scourge of tyranny and violence. The invasion of Iraq, with a skeleton force of 150,000, was an instant and irrevocable success with troops toppling the evil tyrant Saddam Hussein in a matter of days and establishing an Iraqi state where all are free and there are no longer inter-ethnic or sectarian divisions. The speed and efficiency of the invasion and the calm and measured behaviour of coalition forces during the subsequent occupation is a credit to Rumsfeld's inherent decency and humanity.
Rumsfeld: "calm and deeply civilised"
He will also be remembered for the deeply compassionate guidelines issued to U.S. forces as to the treatment of suspected terrorists in the wake of the events of September 11th, 2001. This calm and deeply civilised man refused to allow the horror of those atrocities to deflect him or the nation he served from pursuing and upholding basic human rights and dignity, despite the frenzied and vengeful atmosphere that arose in the immediate aftermath of the terror attacks. Many would have been tempted to inter suspects on little evidence, subjecting them to sensory deprivation and torture techniques and mocking their religious beliefs and texts, but not Rumsfeld. Instead, he ensured that America would continue to hold its head high within the International community - a model of decency and probity. This approach was maintained in Iraq itself, with even critics forced to admire the model of detention established at the once notorious prison Abu-Ghraib. Rumsfeld will also be remembered for the warmth and humour he brought to the job of supervising "the world's policeman", summed up pithily by the catchphrase that many will be using to console themselves today - "stuff happens".
Love on y'all,