Reuters File Photo: Former U.S. Army Four Star General and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell The late U.S. Army Four Star General H.W.
Written by Will Dunham and Arshad Mohammad
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Colin Powell, the first black U.S. secretary of state, a top military official and national security adviser, died Monday at the age of 84 from complications of Covid-1 from. His family said he had been fully vaccinated.
Powell had multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that was forgiving and early-stage Parkinson’s disease, said a close friend who asked not to be named. Blood cancer reduces the body’s ability to fight infections and puts people at higher risk in severe cases of the virus.
Powell served as three senior Republican presidents and climbed to lead the U.S. military as it regained its strength after the war in Vietnam, where he made two trips as an army officer.
“We lost a wonderful and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” his family thanked staff at a military hospital near Washington who treated Powell but gave some details about his illness.
He was a top U.S. military official when US-led forces drove Iraqi troops out of Kuwait in 2001, and a top U.S. diplomat in 2003 when Washington relied on false intelligence about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction to justify invading Iraq.
The son of a Jamaican immigrant who rose to the top of the national security agency, Powell himself admitted that this false intelligence presentation by the United States would tarnish his record.
In a brief statement on Facebook (Nasdaq :), the Powell family said he died Monday morning from Covid-1, was fully vaccinated against the disease and thanked the medical staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center who treated him.
White House spokeswoman Jane Sackie said it was “extremely rare” for hospital admissions and deaths to be fully vaccinated, and said Powell’s death underscored that underlying health problems and other diseases could pose a greater risk from the virus.
“He had two very serious underlying conditions. And unfortunately, (the vaccine) didn’t work. God loves him, ”President Joe Biden told reporters at a White House event on education. He again called on all Americans to be vaccinated.
Biden praised Powell in an earlier statement.
“Colin embodied the highest ideals of both warriors and diplomats,” described Biden Powell as “a patriot of unparalleled honor and dignity” and a man who could “run the Corvette Stingray like anyone else’s business.”
Former President George W. Bush, a Republican who referred to Powell as Secretary of State, noted that “many presidents relied on General Powell’s advice and experience.”
“He was so dear to the president that he won the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice,” said Bush, referring to the medal as the highest civilian award in the U.S. government.
Powell served as U.S. National Security Adviser under Republican President Ronald Reagan from 1987 to 1989. As a four-star army general, he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Republican President George HW Bush during the 1991 Gulf War. Troops have driven Iraqi troops out of neighboring Kuwait.
The New Yorker considered running for president in 1996, but concerns about his wife Alma’s safety helped him decide otherwise. In 2008, he severed ties with his party to support Democrat Barack Obama, who became the first black person to be elected to the White House.
Powell went to the right to paint a picture of his deep misconceptions about the evolution of the Republican Party, and Powell backed Biden against Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election and against Donald Trump last year. Powell called Trump a liar who presented danger to the United States.
Biden, who portrayed his 2020 presidential candidacy against Trump as a battle for the soul of the United States, thanked Powell for supporting his Republican Party.
“I am forever grateful for my candidacy for the presidency and for our shared fight for the soul of the nation,” Biden said.
Powell will forever be associated with his controversial presentation to the UN Security Council, Bush in 200B. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein poses an impending threat to the world because of his stockpile of chemical and biological weapons.
He later admitted that the presentation was inaccurate and full of intelligence given by others in the Bush administration and represented “a stain” that “will always be a part of my record.”
Richard Boucher, one of Powell’s closest aides at the State Department, praised him for admitting wrongdoing.
“The honorable thing is to say ‘I made a mistake.’ Powell did it. He was his boss. He was the owner of his mistakes as much as his incredible success, ”Boucher said.