Donald Rumsfeld, Architect of War in Afghanistan, Is Laid to Rest

WASHINGTON — A horse-drawn caisson with a flag-draped coffin handed slowly by way of the gates of Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, a hushed tableau in opposition to a metropolis loud with recriminations concerning the misplaced struggle in Afghanistan.

The cortege carried Donald H. Rumsfeld, the hard-charging, two-time secretary of protection and one of the struggle’s chief architects, whose burial on a sweltering August afternoon served as one other coda to the 20-year battle.

Mr. Rumsfeld died on June 29, at 88, of problems associated to a number of myeloma. The date for his interment and an earlier non-public funeral service on Monday at Fort Myer, Va., had been set lengthy earlier than, however the timing meant that Mr. Rumsfeld was laid to relaxation throughout the identical sort of shell shock as on Oct. 7, 2001, when the United States launched its first airstrikes in Afghanistan.

And but, the ceremonies appeared to happen in a contained, parallel universe, sealed off from the strife of Washington. “This was very much about the man and his times, and not any particular issue of the day,” stated Larry Di Rita, a prime deputy to Mr. Rumsfeld on the Pentagon throughout the George W. Bush administration.

Say what you’ll concerning the man often called “Rummy,” and lots of have, harshly, for turning away from Afghanistan and waging a struggle in Iraq that left 1000’s of Americans and a whole lot of 1000’s of Iraqis lifeless and finally wrecked the top of Mr. Rumsfeld’s political life. But at Memorial Chapel at Fort Myers, the eulogists recalled a distinct man.

“Our capital city has many familiar types,” former Vice President Dick Cheney, Mr. Rumsfeld’s longtime ally, recalled of his closest good friend, in accordance to his ready remarks and confirmed by company on the funeral. “Yet in all my years around this company town, I have never heard anyone described as ‘the Rumsfeld type.’ There is no such thing because nothing about Don was typical or derivative or standard-issue.”

Mr. Cheney additionally introduced up some of Mr. Rumsfeld’s signature maxims, which Mr. Rumsfeld would generally adapt from acquainted Washington sayings. “Harry Truman supposedly said, ‘If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog,’” Mr. Cheney stated. “To this, Don added the Rumsfeld corollary: Get a small dog — he might turn on you.”

The phrases “Afghanistan” or “Iraq” had been barely spoken by Mr. Cheney and a procession of different eulogists, amongst them Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the outset of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Victoria Clarke, Mr. Rumsfeld’s longtime communications aide on the Pentagon.

Ms. Clarke invoked one of Mr. Rumsfeld’s favourite sayings, or so-called Rumsfeld Rules. “Cemeteries are filled with irreplaceable people,” Ms. Clarke stated earlier than the burial, quoting her former boss, however amending the rule in his honor. “Arlington National Cemetery will soon have someone who is truly irreplaceable.”

Details of the funeral and burial had been intently held by the Rumsfeld household and none had been launched publicly after it was over. Guests included Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who knelt earlier than Mr. Rumsfeld’s widow, Joyce, who was in a wheelchair, and offered her with the flag from her husband’s coffin.

Others there have been Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, and Paul D. Wolfowitz, Mr. Rumsfeld’s No. 2 on the Pentagon who pushed arduous for the struggle in Iraq.

“Mostly, it was just a lot of people who hadn’t seen each other in a long time, in some cases since Rumsfeld left the Pentagon,’’ said David Hume Kennerly, the presidential photographer who Mr. Rumsfeld brought on as the official chronicler of President Gerald R. Ford’s White House when Mr. Rumsfeld was Mr. Ford’s chief of staff. “And there were a lot of stories being shared.”

The tales surfaced in the eulogies, which had been typically drawn from the within of the Pentagon, the place Mr. Rumsfeld served as protection secretary to Ford in the 1970s and 1 / 4 century later to President George W. Bush.

Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan ›

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Updated Aug. 24, 2021, 9:51 p.m. ETTwo House members secretly flew to Kabul on an unauthorized oversight mission.A Taliban spokesman urged ladies to keep residence as a result of fighters haven’t been educated to respect them.The World Bank is freezing assist disbursements to Afghanistan.

“There’s 9/11, of course,” Ms. Clarke recalled, when Mr. Rumsfeld left his workplace to help rescue crews after a hijacked American Airlines airplane crashed into the western aspect of the Pentagon, killing all 64 folks aboard the jet and one other 125 inside. “Many of us were in the building trying to figure out what had happened,” Ms. Clarke stated. “He’s the one who went and found out.”

A former Navy pilot, Princeton-educated wrestler and aggressive squash participant into his 80s, Mr. Rumsfeld’s aggressive type was nicely established. “He gave no quarter, and there was often blood at the end of the match,” stated Mr. Di Rita, a frequent squash opponent of his boss. “When you played with him, it was basically just Don Rumsfeld being Don Rumsfeld.”

Ms. Clarke additionally informed the story of seeing Mr. Rumsfeld stroll down to the Pentagon briefing room and decide up a misshapen paper clip he noticed in the hallway. He spent the assembly twisting and remodeling the lonely paper clip again into combating form.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, left, with Mr. Rumsfeld in 1975. “Nothing about Don was typical or derivative or standard-issue,” Mr. Cheney stated throughout Mr. Rumsfeld’s eulogy.Credit…Harvey Georges/Associated Press

“Good as new,” he informed Ms. Clarke, holding up the paper clip as he left the briefing room.

A couple of hours later, a doc was despatched down to Ms. Clarke’s workplace, held along with that very same paper clip. “Saving the taxpayers’ money,” Mr. Rumsfeld scrawled on a yellow Post-it observe affixed to the restored object.

Understand the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan

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Who are the Taliban? The Taliban arose in 1994 amid the turmoil that got here after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989. They used brutal public punishments, together with floggings, amputations and mass executions, to implement their guidelines. Here’s extra on their origin story and their document as rulers.

Who are the Taliban leaders? These are the highest leaders of the Taliban, males who’ve spent years on the run, in hiding, in jail and dodging American drones. Little is thought about them or how they plan to govern, together with whether or not they are going to be as tolerant as they declare to be.

How did the Taliban acquire management? See how the Taliban retook energy in Afghanistan in a number of months, and examine how their technique enabled them to accomplish that.

What occurs to the ladies of Afghanistan? The final time the Taliban had been in energy, they barred ladies and women from taking most jobs or going to faculty. Afghan ladies have made many beneficial properties for the reason that Taliban had been toppled, however now they concern that floor could also be misplaced. Taliban officers are attempting to reassure ladies that issues can be completely different, however there are indicators that, at the least in some areas, they’ve begun to reimpose the outdated order.

What does their victory imply for terrorist teams? The United States invaded Afghanistan 20 years in the past in response to terrorism, and lots of fear that Al Qaeda and different radical teams will once more discover protected haven there.

Mr. Cheney described the tumultuous interval after Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency in 1974, and Mr. Ford was about to identify his personal vice chairman. Mr. Rumsfeld was a finalist for the job, and occurred to be at Mr. Cheney’s residence in Bethesda, Md., listening on a kitchen radio as the method culminated.

“We heard news reports describing the scene at the Rockefeller estate,” Mr. Cheney recalled, referring to Mr. Ford’s eventual alternative, former New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. There was a fleet of sedans outdoors the mansion, Mr. Cheney famous, with household jets primed to fly the Rockefeller entourage to Washington.

“Don laughed at the superior resources Rockefeller brought to the competition,” Cheney remembered. “He said to me, ‘Here’s Nelson Rockefeller with planeloads of people flying down from New York, and all I’ve got is you, Cheney.’”

Participants stated the meeting erupted into laughter, led by the chuckling Mr. Cheney himself. It took a number of seconds for solemnity to be restored. “Until we meet again, goodbye old friend,” Mr. Cheney stated on the shut of his remarks, his voice catching, in accordance to a visitor, in a uncommon trace of public emotion.

“I had responsibilities and experiences far beyond anything I could have ever known,” Mr. Cheney stated, crediting Mr. Rumsfeld for all of them. “He decided he could trust me and it changed my life.”

Left unsaid, for higher or for worse: It modified historical past, too.