Colin Powell, the retired four-star general who became the country’s first Black secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, died Monday due to complications from Covid-19.
Powell, 84, was fully vaccinated from Covid-19, his family said, and had been treated at Walter Reed National Medical Center, but was suffering from serious underlying conditions. Powell had multiple myeloma, a cancer of a type of white blood cell, which can harm the body’s immune system, surgery for prostate cancer when he was Secretary of State and, more recently, Parkinson’s disease.
Powell became the first Black secretary of state under President George W. Bush. As the nation’s chief diplomat, Powell delivered a well-known speech to the United Nations Security Council in February 2003 laying out the White House argument for invading Iraq and stating that there was intelligence that the country had weapons of mass destruction.
While many view Powell as an inspirational political and military figure, this charade he participated in, will forever stain his record. The fact was, as Powell knew at the time, there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and that big lie was being purported by then President Bush and Vice-President Cheney, as a validation of going to war with the Middle-Eastern country.
Hallibutron, the company Cheney served as director and CEO, made billions on the war.
Powell left the administration shortly after Bush’s re-election in 2004.
Powell later expressed regret over the remarks before the U.N., saying in a 2005 interview with ABC News’ Barbara Walters that it would tarnish his reputation and describing it as a “blot” on his record that “was painful then” and “painful now.”
However, this statement glossed over the extreme damage that big lie caused.