WASHINGTON (AP) — Colin Powell, who served Democratic and Republican presidents in war and peace but whose sterling reputation suffered when he went before the U.N. and made faulty claims to justify the U.S. 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 U.S. invasion of Panama and later the U.S. invasion of Kuwait to oust the Iraqi army in 1991.
But his reputation suffered a painful setback when, in 2003, Powell went before the U.N. Security Council and made the case for U.S. 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.
In an announcement on social media, the family said Powell had been fully vaccinated.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father and grandfather and a great American,” the family said.
Former President George W. Bush said he and former first lady Laura Bush were “deeply saddened” by Powell’s death.
“He was a great public servant” and “widely respected at home and abroad.
“And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man.”
Vice President Harris: Colin Powell “upheld the highest standards”
From CNN’s Jasmine Wright
Vice President Kamala Harris mourned the loss of Colin Powell Monday, describing him as a “barrier breaker” who inspired many in the military and beyond.
Read her full statement below:
“Secretary Colin Powell dedicated his life to defending our nation. As National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State, he was an independent thinker and a barrier breaker who inspired leaders in our military and throughout our nation.
“Secretary Powell served our nation with courage, unwavering in his belief in its principles and its promise. The son of immigrants, Secretary Powell rose through the ranks of the United States Army. He was a decorated veteran and a devoted patriot.
“I last saw and spoke with Secretary Powell in July, at a dinner honoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel. I was reminded then how he always showed the world the best of who we are. He upheld the highest standards, representing our nation with dignity, grace, and strength.
“The legacy that he leaves behind – on America’s national security and on the leaders he mentored – can be seen every day across our nation and the world.
Douglas and I send our deepest condolences to Secretary Powell’s wife, Alma Powell, and their children and grandchildren.” SOURCE.