Rumsfeld Remembered as ‘Complex,’ ‘Energetic’—Not as Killer of Multitudes

One thing you won’t find in corporate media obituaries of Donald Rumsfeld is any estimate of how many people died in the wars he was in charge of launching.

You do see occasional references to the US troops he sent to their deaths—as in the AP‘s obit (6/30/21):

Defiant to the end, Rumsfeld expressed no regrets in his farewell ceremony, at which point the US death toll in Iraq had surpassed 2,900. The count would eventually exceed 4,400.

And in the New York Times (6/30/21):

Mr. Rumsfeld, more than four years out of office, still expressed no regrets over the decision to invade Iraq, which had cost the United States $700 billion and 4,400 American lives.

But the Afghan and Iraqi lives lost as the result of the wars Rumsfeld managed—which by the most careful estimates outnumbered the US dead by a factor of a hundred or more (PLOS Medicine10/15/13Lancet10/12/06)—simply go unmentioned. This, of course, greatly facilitates the job of the obituary writer, who is required to present every deceased member of the Washington establishment as a complicated, ultimately lovable character, regardless of the scale of their crimes.

Or as the Washington Post (6/30/21) put it: “Mr. Rumsfeld was more complex and paradoxical than the public caricature of him as a pugnacious, inflexible villain would suggest.”

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