TRIASMEDIA – Colin Powell, a pioneering soldier and diplomat whose reputation for outstanding service to Republican and Democratic presidents was tarnished by his false claims to justify the 2003 US war in Iraq, died Monday of complications from COVID-19. He is 84 years old.
A Vietnam War veteran, Powell spent 35 years in the Army and rose to the rank of four-star general before becoming the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
His oversight of the US invasion of Kuwait to overthrow the Iraqi army in 1991 made him a household name, prompting nearly a decade of speculation that he might run for president, a path he ultimately decided on.
He instead joined the administration of President George W. Bush in 2001 as secretary of state, the first black person to represent the US government on the world stage.
Powell’s tenure, however, was marred by his 2003 speech to the UN Security Council in which he cited misinformation to claim that Saddam Hussein was secretly stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.
Such weapons never materialized, and although the Iraqi leader was removed, the war resulted in years of military and humanitarian losses.