Nation & World

Donald Rumsfeld visits Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington

The last time he visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Donald Rumsfeld was an agenda-setting defense secretary fresh off the U.S. military’s early success in Afghanistan.

That trip took place nine years ago, before the war in Iraq came to define Rumsfeld’s tenure in the other Washington while it drew tens of thousands of soldiers from the base south of Tacoma into combat.

Rumsfeld returns Friday to Lewis-McChord to meet with local soldiers and airmen as he promotes his 813-page memoir, “Known and Unknown.” He said he looks forward to seeing familiar faces.

“One of the real enjoyable aspects of writing a book and then going to various places is that people come up who I’d met in Iraq or Afghanistan or around the world, and it gives me a chance to thank them again for their service for the country,” he said.

Rumsfeld, 79, now spends his days in Montana and occasionally weighs in on conservative causes. He’s heading out Friday from Seattle on a cruise sponsored by the American Conservative Union.

He resigned as defense secretary in 2006 when the Iraq war was at its bloodiest and retired American generals and others were sharply criticizing him. In an op-ed piece for The New York Times, Ret. Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton of Fox Island called Rumsfeld “incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically.”

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