Colin Powell, who served Democratic and Republican presidents in war and peace but whose sterling reputation suffered when he went before the U.N. and made faulty claims to justify the U.S. war in Iraq, has died of COVID-19 complications. He was 84.
In 1989 Powell became the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In that role he oversaw the U.S. invasion of Panama and later the U.S. invasion of Kuwait to oust the Iraqi army in 1991.
But his reputation suffered a painful setback when, in 2003, Powell went before the U.N. Security Council and made the case for U.S. war against Iraq. He cited faulty information claiming Saddam Hussein had secretly stashed away weapons of mass destruction. Iraq’s claims that it had not represented “a web of lies,” he told the world body.
In an announcement on social media, the family said Powell had been fully vaccinated.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father and grandfather and a great American,” the family said.
Former President George W. Bush said he and former first lady Laura Bush were “deeply saddened” by Powell’s death.
“He was a great public servant” and “widely respected at home and abroad,” Bush said. “And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man.”