Colin Powell, who served Democratic and Republican presidents in war and peace but whose sterling reputation suffered when he went before the UN and made faulty claims to justify the US 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 1989 US invasion of Panama and later the US invasion of Kuwait to removed the Iraqi army in 1991.
But his reputation suffered a painful setback when, in 2003, Powell went before the UN Security Council and made the case for the US-led 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.
Powell told Al Jazeera in September 2011 – the 10th anniversary of the worst terror attacks on US soil – that the information was a “blot on my record”.
In an announcement on social media, the family said Powell had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father and grandfather and a great American,” the family said.