Colin Powell, Former US Secretary of State, Dies at 84 of Covid Complications

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Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state who played a pivotal role in trying to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq, has died of complications from Covid-19 at the age of 84, has t -on announced Monday.

Powell, a retired four-star general who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the early 1990s, had been treated for Covid at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Announcing his death, his family said they had lost a “remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and great American.”

Powell was the first black secretary of state in the United States, holding that post under George W Bush from 2001 to 2005. Born in New York, he grew up in the Bronx and was educated in public schools before moving to enter the army.

He held the highest military post in the US government as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff between 1989 and 1993. In this role, he presided over military crises including the 1989 invasion of Panama and the first Gulf War in 1990-91.

But it was in the preparation for the controversial invasion of Iraq in 2003 that Powell became a household name. He was the face of the Bush administration’s aggressive attempt to get the world community to support the invasion, based on false claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

In February 2003, as Secretary of State, Powell appeared before the UN Security Council and categorically stated that then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein possessed biological weapons and was developing nuclear weapons. He said his intelligence was based in part on accounts from unidentified Iraqi defectors.

The invasion took place without UN authorization. The following year, the CIA’s own Iraq study group released a report concluding that Hussein had destroyed the last of the country’s weapons of mass destruction a decade earlier.

Powell resigned as secretary of state in November 2004, following Bush’s re-election. He later insisted to reporters that he tried to warn Bush of the consequences of the invasion of Iraq, but supported the president when the decision to go ahead. has been taken.

In a statement on Monday, Bush called Powell “a great public servant, he was such a favorite of presidents that he won the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice.” He was well respected at home and abroad.

Tony Blair, who as British Prime Minister also supported the invasion of Iraq, called Powell “a dominant figure in American military and political leadership for many years.” He inspired loyalty and respect… his life is a testament not only to dedicated public service, but also to a strong belief in a willingness to work across partisan divisions for the benefit of his country.

After his tenure in government, Powell remained a hugely influential commentator on American politics and public life. Over the years, he has distanced himself more and more from his own Republican party, disillusioned by his drift to the right.

In 2008, despite partisan rivalries, he supported Barack Obama for the presidency. When Donald Trump launched his candidacy for the White House, Powell became one of his main critics.

He voted against Trump in 2016 and 2020 and was scathing against key Republicans who have remained silent or actively embraced Trump’s lies. His scathing criticism of Trump continued until months before his death – in January, he said he was so disgusted by Trump’s insurgency at the U.S. Capitol that he no longer considered himself a Republican.

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