Donald Rumsfeld's complicated Middle East legacy

The former defence secretary served under governments that did not leave the region a better place

On Tuesday, former United States defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld died at the age of 88. Washington is mostly lauding his career, which saw him work under four different American presidents.

The public service embodied by officials such as Rumsfeld is a celebrated vocation across the globe. But he was working at a time when America, a country with huge influence globally, made a number of moral, legal and strategic mistakes. The reaction in the US might be sadness at the loss of a well-known public figure, but abroad his legacy will be far more complex.

Rumsfeld was defence secretary when America launched both its 2001 Afghanistan campaign and, two years later, the invasion of Iraq. Both sought to overthrow brutal regimes, and both succeeded in doing so. Other objectives proved harder, notably the coalition's efforts to disrupt the activity of global terrorists, particularly Al Qaeda. And some never manifested at all. The Bush administration partly justified the war in Iraq on the claim that Saddam Hussein, the country's former president, was developing weapons of mass destruction. A year after the invasion, a coalition fact-finding mission concluded that the country’s nuclear weapons programme had, in actual fact, ceased over a decade ago.

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The Middle East lives with largest burden of this complex era

Removing Iraq’s former president was always going to be crucial in rebuilding a stable country. After decades of brutal rule, Iraqis were hopeful for a better future when Hussein's regime ended. They were willing to give the international coalition, led by the US, a chance. But the promise of change for the better did not pan out.

The mission quickly became bogged down by the coalition's fundamentally flawed approach to its responsibilities in the country. It paved the way for some of the most legally and morally controversial decisions in American history, which have arguably diluted the force of international law irrevocably. The era even normalised offensive disregard by American policymakers towards the region. As chaos unfolded in the Iraqi capital after the invasion, Rumsfeld famously dismissed the disasters that were witnessed, saying “stuff happens”.

This is why the legacies of key officials during the era – Rumsfeld is one – are going to be complex for the many Iraqis and Afghans whose lives have been altered by US policy in the region, particularly during a year that has already had its fair share of symbolic moments. The world is coming up to the 20th anniversary of September 11, the spark that led to the invasions of 2001 and 2003. Two decades on, US President Joe Biden is expected to finish a total withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, a move that many fear will condemn the country to another Taliban government. The former president of the country, Hamid Karzai, who welcomed Joe Biden to Kabul in 2011, recently called Nato's 20-year campaign a "failure". President Biden is also thought to be beginning the process of closing Guantanamo Bay, a militarised detention facility that held alleged terrorists without trial, a symbol for many of America shirking moral responsibility during the War on Terror.

The Middle East lives with largest burden of this complex era, which was fuelled by the governments that Rumsfeld served. The region, therefore, is entitled to its own kind of reflection.

Updated: July 2nd 2021, 3:00 AM
How to become a Boglehead

Bogleheads follow simple investing philosophies to build their wealth and live better lives. Just follow these steps.

•   Spend less than you earn and save the rest. You can do this by earning more, or being frugal. Better still, do both.

•   Invest early, invest often. It takes time to grow your wealth on the stock market. The sooner you begin, the better.

•   Choose the right level of risk. Don't gamble by investing in get-rich-quick schemes or high-risk plays. Don't play it too safe, either, by leaving long-term savings in cash.

•   Diversify. Do not keep all your eggs in one basket. Spread your money between different companies, sectors, markets and asset classes such as bonds and property.

•   Keep charges low. The biggest drag on investment performance is all the charges you pay to advisers and active fund managers.

•   Keep it simple. Complexity is your enemy. You can build a balanced, diversified portfolio with just a handful of ETFs.

•   Forget timing the market. Nobody knows where share prices will go next, so don't try to second-guess them.

•   Stick with it. Do not sell up in a market crash. Use the opportunity to invest more at the lower price.

How to become a Boglehead

Bogleheads follow simple investing philosophies to build their wealth and live better lives. Just follow these steps.

•   Spend less than you earn and save the rest. You can do this by earning more, or being frugal. Better still, do both.

•   Invest early, invest often. It takes time to grow your wealth on the stock market. The sooner you begin, the better.

•   Choose the right level of risk. Don't gamble by investing in get-rich-quick schemes or high-risk plays. Don't play it too safe, either, by leaving long-term savings in cash.

•   Diversify. Do not keep all your eggs in one basket. Spread your money between different companies, sectors, markets and asset classes such as bonds and property.

•   Keep charges low. The biggest drag on investment performance is all the charges you pay to advisers and active fund managers.

•   Keep it simple. Complexity is your enemy. You can build a balanced, diversified portfolio with just a handful of ETFs.

•   Forget timing the market. Nobody knows where share prices will go next, so don't try to second-guess them.

•   Stick with it. Do not sell up in a market crash. Use the opportunity to invest more at the lower price.

How to become a Boglehead

Bogleheads follow simple investing philosophies to build their wealth and live better lives. Just follow these steps.

•   Spend less than you earn and save the rest. You can do this by earning more, or being frugal. Better still, do both.

•   Invest early, invest often. It takes time to grow your wealth on the stock market. The sooner you begin, the better.

•   Choose the right level of risk. Don't gamble by investing in get-rich-quick schemes or high-risk plays. Don't play it too safe, either, by leaving long-term savings in cash.

•   Diversify. Do not keep all your eggs in one basket. Spread your money between different companies, sectors, markets and asset classes such as bonds and property.

•   Keep charges low. The biggest drag on investment performance is all the charges you pay to advisers and active fund managers.

•   Keep it simple. Complexity is your enemy. You can build a balanced, diversified portfolio with just a handful of ETFs.

•   Forget timing the market. Nobody knows where share prices will go next, so don't try to second-guess them.

•   Stick with it. Do not sell up in a market crash. Use the opportunity to invest more at the lower price.

How to become a Boglehead

Bogleheads follow simple investing philosophies to build their wealth and live better lives. Just follow these steps.

•   Spend less than you earn and save the rest. You can do this by earning more, or being frugal. Better still, do both.

•   Invest early, invest often. It takes time to grow your wealth on the stock market. The sooner you begin, the better.

•   Choose the right level of risk. Don't gamble by investing in get-rich-quick schemes or high-risk plays. Don't play it too safe, either, by leaving long-term savings in cash.

•   Diversify. Do not keep all your eggs in one basket. Spread your money between different companies, sectors, markets and asset classes such as bonds and property.

•   Keep charges low. The biggest drag on investment performance is all the charges you pay to advisers and active fund managers.

•   Keep it simple. Complexity is your enemy. You can build a balanced, diversified portfolio with just a handful of ETFs.

•   Forget timing the market. Nobody knows where share prices will go next, so don't try to second-guess them.

•   Stick with it. Do not sell up in a market crash. Use the opportunity to invest more at the lower price.

How to become a Boglehead

Bogleheads follow simple investing philosophies to build their wealth and live better lives. Just follow these steps.

•   Spend less than you earn and save the rest. You can do this by earning more, or being frugal. Better still, do both.

•   Invest early, invest often. It takes time to grow your wealth on the stock market. The sooner you begin, the better.

•   Choose the right level of risk. Don't gamble by investing in get-rich-quick schemes or high-risk plays. Don't play it too safe, either, by leaving long-term savings in cash.

•   Diversify. Do not keep all your eggs in one basket. Spread your money between different companies, sectors, markets and asset classes such as bonds and property.

•   Keep charges low. The biggest drag on investment performance is all the charges you pay to advisers and active fund managers.

•   Keep it simple. Complexity is your enemy. You can build a balanced, diversified portfolio with just a handful of ETFs.

•   Forget timing the market. Nobody knows where share prices will go next, so don't try to second-guess them.

•   Stick with it. Do not sell up in a market crash. Use the opportunity to invest more at the lower price.

How to become a Boglehead

Bogleheads follow simple investing philosophies to build their wealth and live better lives. Just follow these steps.

•   Spend less than you earn and save the rest. You can do this by earning more, or being frugal. Better still, do both.

•   Invest early, invest often. It takes time to grow your wealth on the stock market. The sooner you begin, the better.

•   Choose the right level of risk. Don't gamble by investing in get-rich-quick schemes or high-risk plays. Don't play it too safe, either, by leaving long-term savings in cash.

•   Diversify. Do not keep all your eggs in one basket. Spread your money between different companies, sectors, markets and asset classes such as bonds and property.

•   Keep charges low. The biggest drag on investment performance is all the charges you pay to advisers and active fund managers.

•   Keep it simple. Complexity is your enemy. You can build a balanced, diversified portfolio with just a handful of ETFs.

•   Forget timing the market. Nobody knows where share prices will go next, so don't try to second-guess them.

•   Stick with it. Do not sell up in a market crash. Use the opportunity to invest more at the lower price.

How to become a Boglehead

Bogleheads follow simple investing philosophies to build their wealth and live better lives. Just follow these steps.

•   Spend less than you earn and save the rest. You can do this by earning more, or being frugal. Better still, do both.

•   Invest early, invest often. It takes time to grow your wealth on the stock market. The sooner you begin, the better.

•   Choose the right level of risk. Don't gamble by investing in get-rich-quick schemes or high-risk plays. Don't play it too safe, either, by leaving long-term savings in cash.

•   Diversify. Do not keep all your eggs in one basket. Spread your money between different companies, sectors, markets and asset classes such as bonds and property.

•   Keep charges low. The biggest drag on investment performance is all the charges you pay to advisers and active fund managers.

•   Keep it simple. Complexity is your enemy. You can build a balanced, diversified portfolio with just a handful of ETFs.

•   Forget timing the market. Nobody knows where share prices will go next, so don't try to second-guess them.

•   Stick with it. Do not sell up in a market crash. Use the opportunity to invest more at the lower price.

How to become a Boglehead

Bogleheads follow simple investing philosophies to build their wealth and live better lives. Just follow these steps.

•   Spend less than you earn and save the rest. You can do this by earning more, or being frugal. Better still, do both.

•   Invest early, invest often. It takes time to grow your wealth on the stock market. The sooner you begin, the better.

•   Choose the right level of risk. Don't gamble by investing in get-rich-quick schemes or high-risk plays. Don't play it too safe, either, by leaving long-term savings in cash.

•   Diversify. Do not keep all your eggs in one basket. Spread your money between different companies, sectors, markets and asset classes such as bonds and property.

•   Keep charges low. The biggest drag on investment performance is all the charges you pay to advisers and active fund managers.

•   Keep it simple. Complexity is your enemy. You can build a balanced, diversified portfolio with just a handful of ETFs.

•   Forget timing the market. Nobody knows where share prices will go next, so don't try to second-guess them.

•   Stick with it. Do not sell up in a market crash. Use the opportunity to invest more at the lower price.

How to become a Boglehead

Bogleheads follow simple investing philosophies to build their wealth and live better lives. Just follow these steps.

•   Spend less than you earn and save the rest. You can do this by earning more, or being frugal. Better still, do both.

•   Invest early, invest often. It takes time to grow your wealth on the stock market. The sooner you begin, the better.

•   Choose the right level of risk. Don't gamble by investing in get-rich-quick schemes or high-risk plays. Don't play it too safe, either, by leaving long-term savings in cash.

•   Diversify. Do not keep all your eggs in one basket. Spread your money between different companies, sectors, markets and asset classes such as bonds and property.

•   Keep charges low. The biggest drag on investment performance is all the charges you pay to advisers and active fund managers.

•   Keep it simple. Complexity is your enemy. You can build a balanced, diversified portfolio with just a handful of ETFs.

•   Forget timing the market. Nobody knows where share prices will go next, so don't try to second-guess them.

•   Stick with it. Do not sell up in a market crash. Use the opportunity to invest more at the lower price.

How to become a Boglehead

Bogleheads follow simple investing philosophies to build their wealth and live better lives. Just follow these steps.

•   Spend less than you earn and save the rest. You can do this by earning more, or being frugal. Better still, do both.

•   Invest early, invest often. It takes time to grow your wealth on the stock market. The sooner you begin, the better.

•   Choose the right level of risk. Don't gamble by investing in get-rich-quick schemes or high-risk plays. Don't play it too safe, either, by leaving long-term savings in cash.

•   Diversify. Do not keep all your eggs in one basket. Spread your money between different companies, sectors, markets and asset classes such as bonds and property.

•   Keep charges low. The biggest drag on investment performance is all the charges you pay to advisers and active fund managers.

•   Keep it simple. Complexity is your enemy. You can build a balanced, diversified portfolio with just a handful of ETFs.

•   Forget timing the market. Nobody knows where share prices will go next, so don't try to second-guess them.

•   Stick with it. Do not sell up in a market crash. Use the opportunity to invest more at the lower price.

How to become a Boglehead

Bogleheads follow simple investing philosophies to build their wealth and live better lives. Just follow these steps.

•   Spend less than you earn and save the rest. You can do this by earning more, or being frugal. Better still, do both.

•   Invest early, invest often. It takes time to grow your wealth on the stock market. The sooner you begin, the better.

•   Choose the right level of risk. Don't gamble by investing in get-rich-quick schemes or high-risk plays. Don't play it too safe, either, by leaving long-term savings in cash.

•   Diversify. Do not keep all your eggs in one basket. Spread your money between different companies, sectors, markets and asset classes such as bonds and property.

•   Keep charges low. The biggest drag on investment performance is all the charges you pay to advisers and active fund managers.

•   Keep it simple. Complexity is your enemy. You can build a balanced, diversified portfolio with just a handful of ETFs.

•   Forget timing the market. Nobody knows where share prices will go next, so don't try to second-guess them.

•   Stick with it. Do not sell up in a market crash. Use the opportunity to invest more at the lower price.

How to become a Boglehead

Bogleheads follow simple investing philosophies to build their wealth and live better lives. Just follow these steps.

•   Spend less than you earn and save the rest. You can do this by earning more, or being frugal. Better still, do both.

•   Invest early, invest often. It takes time to grow your wealth on the stock market. The sooner you begin, the better.

•   Choose the right level of risk. Don't gamble by investing in get-rich-quick schemes or high-risk plays. Don't play it too safe, either, by leaving long-term savings in cash.

•   Diversify. Do not keep all your eggs in one basket. Spread your money between different companies, sectors, markets and asset classes such as bonds and property.

•   Keep charges low. The biggest drag on investment performance is all the charges you pay to advisers and active fund managers.

•   Keep it simple. Complexity is your enemy. You can build a balanced, diversified portfolio with just a handful of ETFs.

•   Forget timing the market. Nobody knows where share prices will go next, so don't try to second-guess them.

•   Stick with it. Do not sell up in a market crash. Use the opportunity to invest more at the lower price.

How to become a Boglehead

Bogleheads follow simple investing philosophies to build their wealth and live better lives. Just follow these steps.

•   Spend less than you earn and save the rest. You can do this by earning more, or being frugal. Better still, do both.

•   Invest early, invest often. It takes time to grow your wealth on the stock market. The sooner you begin, the better.

•   Choose the right level of risk. Don't gamble by investing in get-rich-quick schemes or high-risk plays. Don't play it too safe, either, by leaving long-term savings in cash.

•   Diversify. Do not keep all your eggs in one basket. Spread your money between different companies, sectors, markets and asset classes such as bonds and property.

•   Keep charges low. The biggest drag on investment performance is all the charges you pay to advisers and active fund managers.

•   Keep it simple. Complexity is your enemy. You can build a balanced, diversified portfolio with just a handful of ETFs.

•   Forget timing the market. Nobody knows where share prices will go next, so don't try to second-guess them.

•   Stick with it. Do not sell up in a market crash. Use the opportunity to invest more at the lower price.

How to become a Boglehead

Bogleheads follow simple investing philosophies to build their wealth and live better lives. Just follow these steps.

•   Spend less than you earn and save the rest. You can do this by earning more, or being frugal. Better still, do both.

•   Invest early, invest often. It takes time to grow your wealth on the stock market. The sooner you begin, the better.

•   Choose the right level of risk. Don't gamble by investing in get-rich-quick schemes or high-risk plays. Don't play it too safe, either, by leaving long-term savings in cash.

•   Diversify. Do not keep all your eggs in one basket. Spread your money between different companies, sectors, markets and asset classes such as bonds and property.

•   Keep charges low. The biggest drag on investment performance is all the charges you pay to advisers and active fund managers.

•   Keep it simple. Complexity is your enemy. You can build a balanced, diversified portfolio with just a handful of ETFs.

•   Forget timing the market. Nobody knows where share prices will go next, so don't try to second-guess them.

•   Stick with it. Do not sell up in a market crash. Use the opportunity to invest more at the lower price.

How to become a Boglehead

Bogleheads follow simple investing philosophies to build their wealth and live better lives. Just follow these steps.

•   Spend less than you earn and save the rest. You can do this by earning more, or being frugal. Better still, do both.

•   Invest early, invest often. It takes time to grow your wealth on the stock market. The sooner you begin, the better.

•   Choose the right level of risk. Don't gamble by investing in get-rich-quick schemes or high-risk plays. Don't play it too safe, either, by leaving long-term savings in cash.

•   Diversify. Do not keep all your eggs in one basket. Spread your money between different companies, sectors, markets and asset classes such as bonds and property.

•   Keep charges low. The biggest drag on investment performance is all the charges you pay to advisers and active fund managers.

•   Keep it simple. Complexity is your enemy. You can build a balanced, diversified portfolio with just a handful of ETFs.

•   Forget timing the market. Nobody knows where share prices will go next, so don't try to second-guess them.

•   Stick with it. Do not sell up in a market crash. Use the opportunity to invest more at the lower price.

How to become a Boglehead

Bogleheads follow simple investing philosophies to build their wealth and live better lives. Just follow these steps.

•   Spend less than you earn and save the rest. You can do this by earning more, or being frugal. Better still, do both.

•   Invest early, invest often. It takes time to grow your wealth on the stock market. The sooner you begin, the better.

•   Choose the right level of risk. Don't gamble by investing in get-rich-quick schemes or high-risk plays. Don't play it too safe, either, by leaving long-term savings in cash.

•   Diversify. Do not keep all your eggs in one basket. Spread your money between different companies, sectors, markets and asset classes such as bonds and property.

•   Keep charges low. The biggest drag on investment performance is all the charges you pay to advisers and active fund managers.

•   Keep it simple. Complexity is your enemy. You can build a balanced, diversified portfolio with just a handful of ETFs.

•   Forget timing the market. Nobody knows where share prices will go next, so don't try to second-guess them.

•   Stick with it. Do not sell up in a market crash. Use the opportunity to invest more at the lower price.

Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding

 

Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding

 

Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding

 

Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding

 

Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding

 

Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding

 

Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding

 

Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding

 

Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding

 

Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding

 

Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding

 

Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding

 

Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding

 

Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding

 

Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding

 

Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding