Powell was the first Black US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state.
Secretary of State Colin Powell looks on as President Bush addresses Department of State employees at the Department of State in Washington, February 15, 2001. [Kenneth Lambert/AP Photo]
18 Oct 2021
Colin Powell, who served Democratic and Republican presidents in war and peace but whose sterling reputation suffered when he went before the UN and made faulty claims to justify the US war in Iraq, has died of COVID-19 complications. He was 84.
In 1989, Powell became the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In that role, he oversaw the 1989 US invasion of Panama and later the US invasion of Kuwait to removed the Iraqi army in 1991.
But his reputation suffered a painful setback when, in 2003, Powell went before the UN Security Council and made the case for the US-led war against Iraq. He cited faulty information claiming Saddam Hussein had secretly stashed away weapons of mass destruction. Iraq’s claims that it had not, represented “a web of lies,” he told the world body.
Powell told Al Jazeera in September 2011 – the 10th anniversary of the worst terror attacks on US soil – that the information was a “blot on my record”.
In an announcement on social media, the family said Powell had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father and grandfather and a great American,” the family said.
Lieutenant General Colin Powell, commander of the 5th US Corps, salutes while his wife Alma stands beside him during a farewell ceremony in Frankfurt, December 30, 1986. [Udo Weitz/AP Photo]
Joint Chiefs Chairman General Colin Powell gestures during a news conference at the Pentagon on Wednesday, September 1, 1993, that unveiled a five-year defence strategy to shrink the US military in favour of a "lean, mobile, high-tech force" that would enable America to fight wars on two fronts. [Marcy Nighswander/AP Photo]
President-elect Bush smiles as he introduces retired General Colin Powell as his nominee to be secretary of state during a ceremony in Crawford, Texas, December 16, 2000. [David J Phillip/AP Photo]
Secretary of State Colin Powell holds up a vial he said could contain anthrax as he presents evidence of Iraq's alleged weapons programs to the United Nations Security Council, February 5, 2003. [Elise Amendola/AP Photo]
US Secretary of State Colin Powell meets Sri Lankan tsunami survivors during visit to Red Cross operation centre in the southern Sri Lankan coastal city of Galle. [Pierre Terdjman/Reuters]
President Barack Obama talks with reporters after his meeting with former Secretary of State Colin Powell on the importance of ratifying the New START Treaty, and efforts to reduce the high school drop-out rate, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, December 1, 2010. [J Scott Applewhite/AP Photo]
Colin Powell arrives at Juba airport for the Independence Day celebrations in South Sudan's capital on July 9, 2011. [Benedicte Desrus/Reuters]
General Colin Powell, left, and artist Ronald Sherr celebrate the unveiling of a life-sized painting of Powell at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery on Sunday, December 2, 2012, in Washington. [Paul Morigi /AP Images for National Portrait Gallery]
Specialist Peter Giacchi, right, talks with Bloom Energy board member Colin Powell, centre, and company officials on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during their IPO, July 25, 2018. [Richard Drew/AP Photo]