Colin Powell, former chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff and first Black person to be secretary of state, died at 84 from complications caused by covid-19.
According to The New York Times Powell had been fully vaccinated. He was also fighting a rare form of the virus just before his death. His family shared that he had been treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
The family expressed gratitude to Walter Reed National Medical Center's medical staff for their compassionate treatment. We lost a wonderful and caring husband, father, grandfather and great American.
Powell was the youngest and the first Black chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff during President George H.W. Bush, 1989-93, and, at the time of his election as Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, 2001-2005, was the highest-ranking Black member in U.S. history of the federal executive branch.
CNN reported that Powell became a popular leader in the country after the victory in the Gulf War. He was also widely considered a candidate for the presidency. Powell's record was a serious blow when, Powell claims against his better judgement, he sold the United Nations on faulty intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction used by the Bush Administration for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
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In a now-famous speech to the UN, Powell stated that there was no doubt Saddam Hussein had biological weapons and the ability to produce more. However, the UN was not provided with any evidence to support this assertion. In 2005, Powell resigned his federal post and later described the incident in his autobiography. He called it "one of my most significant failures" because it had the greatest impact.
According to CNN, Powell said that the event would be a prominent part of my obituary. His speech was more important because it helped to change public opinion and the position of Congress towards the almost two-decade U.S. occupation in Iraq. This resulted, at most, in hundreds of thousands of deaths from violence (excess deaths are probable at over half a billion) and is still ongoing.
Powell supported Democrats like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in his later years. He declared that he couldn't consider himself to be a Republican Party member after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by Donald Trump supporters.