Paid for by a US anti-war group MoveOn.org, the advertisement featured a picture of the US Defence Secretary alongside a letter from a man who described himself as a "patriotic American" with two sons serving the US military in Iraq.

"Donald Rumsfeld betrayed my sons and our nation. It's time for him to go," said the letter from Larry Syverson of Richmond, Virginia.

"I am angry with those who have led us into what can only be called a quagmire," Syverson said.

"Donald Rumsfeld had day-to-day authority for planning for the war and its aftermath," Syverson wrote.

"He was the chief architect and it is his house of cards that is tumbling today," the anguished father of the two US soldiers said.

MoveOn.org was launched in 1998 by two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs with the objective of "working to bring ordinary people back into politics." It claims to have up to two million online activists.