In his introduction of Donald Rumsfeld at his appearance before the Wednesday Morning Club, David Horowitz saluted him as “a man whose service to our nation and the cause of freedom began nearly 60 years ago.” He continued:
In 1954, Donald Rumsfeld, newly graduated from Princeton, joined the Navy as an aviator. On leaving active service three years later, he became a Congressional staffer and in 1962, won a seat in Congress. During his third term, he was named by then-President Nixon to be Director of the United States Office of Economic Opportunity and Assistant to the President with Cabinet rank. In 1973, he was made U.S. Ambassador to NATO.
The following year, Nixon was forced to resign in the wake of the Watergate investigations, which were led by Ted Kennedy and the anti-Vietnam Democrats in an effort to derail the war. Rumsfeld was called back to Washington to serve as the head of Gerald Ford’s transition team, who then selected him to be White House Chief of Staff and then appointed him to be the youngest Secretary of Defense in the nation’s history.
When Jimmy Carter succeeded Ford, Rumsfeld retired to private life as CEO and then Chairman of G.D. Searle, a worldwide pharmaceutical, which he headed for 20 years. In January 2001, he was called back from retirement by George Bush, who appointed him Secretary of Defense, this time as the oldest, and in my view, the wisest and most effective executive ever to hold that position.
Secretary Rumsfeld has had a long and consequential career in the service of the United States. He sums it up in Known and Unknown, the occasion of his appearance before the Wednesday Morning Club as well as his recent conversation with Peter Robinson. As he has in each of the interviews I have seen since the publication of his memoirs, Rumsfeld emphasizes the availability of the source materials he has placed online as the Rumsfeld Papers.
The interview is interesting throughout, but increasingly intense, building to a discussion of the surge in Iraq. Through our arrangement with the Hoover Institution, we are pleased to present it in its entirety. Please check it out.