Colin Powell, the United States’ first black Secretary of State and a close advisor to President George W. Bush, has passed away at the age of 84. Powell was suffering from complications related to COVID-19.
The family made the announcement on Facebook this morning. The news comes as a shock as the pandemic continues to cause devastation despite the availability of safe, effective vaccines.
“General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19. He was fully vaccinated. We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment. We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American.”
Powell was a critical player in the decisions that led the United States to invade Iraq in 2003. Powell told members of the United Nations that he was sure that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. This information, which proved to be false, was used as the justification for the war.
Colin Powell later expressed regret for the decision. In his 2012 memoir, It Worked For Me, Powell recounted how he felt about the ill-fated decision.
“I am mad mostly at myself for not having smelled the problem. My instincts failed me. It was by no means my first, but it was one of my most momentous failures, the one with the widest-ranging impact.”
Later in life, General Powell showed a principled resistance to the rise of Donald Trump in American politics. Powell once referred to Trump as a national disgrace. He voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and supported Joe Biden in 2020.
Colin Powell was one of the most influential figures in American politics for decades. He will be sadly missed by his family, those he served with, and those who appreciated his honesty and patriotism in the face of controversy.