Colin Powell died today

October 18, 2021 • 7:26 am

Colin Powell, America’s first black Secretary of State, who also served as a four-star general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and National Security Advisor, died this morning at age 84.  The cause: complications of Covid, even though he was fully vaccinated.

The NYT report is below, promising a full obituary later, probably because nobody prepared a draft in advance because Powell was not expected to die.  RIP, General.

Click on screenshot:

The full report from the NYT:

Colin L. Powell, who in four decades of public life served as the nation’s top soldier, diplomat and national security adviser, and whose speech at the United Nations in 2003 helped pave the way for the United States to go to war in Iraq, died on Monday. He was 84.

He died of complications from Covid-19, his family said in a statement. He was fully vaccinated and was treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, his family said.

h/t: Ken

 

26 thoughts on “Colin Powell died today

  1. From my perspective, he was a man of dignity, intellect and dedication. I imagine he was horrified by today’s political situation. We need many more like him.

    1. + a large number. When he feinted towards a run for POTUS in 2000, the GOP let it be known they would drag his wife’s substance-addiction issues into it and he withdrew.

      So much for the “morals” of the GOP. Par for the course, nothing to see.

    2. From my perspective, he let the world down. He had good qualities, for sure, but in his moment of truth he destroyed his legacy when he gave that speech on weapons of mass destruction in the UN to start a war that led to at least a hundred thousand dead people, more than a million refugees, and the current chaos in and around Iraq..The speech was full of factual and logical errors, and it wasn’t hard to spot them at the time.

    3. After Jan. 6, he stated that the riot was one of the most disgusting things he had ever seen and he no longer considered himself as a Republican.

  2. The only dark area of his career was the job he did at the U.N. pushing the lies to go into Iraq. Wether he fully knew it or not at the time, that one was pretty bad.

    1. There he showed a vial of pseudo anthrax, linking Bin Laden to the anthrax attacks.

      He will be missed (but not by me).

  3. Powell was the son of Jamaican immigrants, raised in the South Bronx, and got his commission not at West Point, but in the ROTC program at City College. He had to be twice as good as the competition to climb the ranks the way he did.

    Powell tried to pump the brakes on the 2003 Iraq invasion, but in the end made like the good soldier he was, by taking the Bush case to the UN, in what turned out to be a suicide mission for his reputation, at least in the short term.

    I was against the Iraq invasion from the get-go, but watching Powell on the tube from the UN was the closest I ever came to supporting that war (at least until it turned out he’d been pushing bullshit ginned up by Cheney et al.).

    1. Thank you for the balance you provide to some of the perspectives shared above. I share your perspective and, before the Iraq war debacle, wanted Secretary Powell to become our first African-American President. He was an admirable public servant and human being.

  4. He always seemed like a smart, honest guy. Perhaps he should have run for President. The fact that he died from COVID despite being vaccinated is going to be jet fuel for the antivaxxers.

      1. Multiple myeloma is a horrible illness with a bad prognosis (my wife’s mother died of it a few years ago).

        Like Tony Blair, Colin Powell’s considerable achievements will always be outweighed (for some) by the prelude to the 2003 Iraq War although personally I think that a more nuanced appraisal is needed.

  5. This is a tough one. Powell was a generally honorable man who served this country well and I honor his service and accomplishments. I believe he was a generally decent man who had strong beliefs in duty and integrity. I was a fan of his and took what he said very seriously. Until, that is, the Iraq issue. He was used, or allowed himself to be used, as one of the most potent reasons to support invading Iraq. Many of us who did not like Bush were swayed by Powell’s talk at the UN and supported the invasion because of that. What bothers me even more is his subsequent tepid reaction to this betrayal. Unlike, say Andrew Sullivan who had much less sway on bringing the country to war, but who has written extensively of his regret over his initial support of the Iraq invasion and has essentially publicly flogged himself repeatedly over this, Powell (along with almost everyone else actually responsible for this debacle) displayed only vague regrets about intelligence failures and complained that it would be “a blot” on his record, noting that it would likely be in the first sentence of his obituary (as it should be). I honor his successes and service, but not how he wasted it on a horrific fiasco and his slight contrition over this. I use him as an example of a Classic Tragedy.

    1. This is pretty close to my view, though I am more charitable to Powell. (I don’t think people should be cancelled for their worst deeds or words.)

      Your last sentence is the correct summary. He fell on his sword as a dedicated US soldier when his CinC asked him to.

    2. I compare him to men like Elliot Richardson, who refused Nixon’s order to fire the special prosecutor, and who was himself fired for having principles. Powell could also have done the right thing, and would have gone down in history as a great man, had he stood up to Bush/Cheney.. The consequences of his lack of principles were far worse than what would have happened if Elliot Richardson had followed Nixon’s orders. I can’t see any reason to forgive Powell for that. He wasn’t forced to do what he did.

  6. Almost every American deserves more honour and respect than Colin Powell (as everyone from the Bush administration, and their stenographers in the media). They are war criminals, even if not in the legal, certainly in a moral sense.

  7. Powell lied through his teeth to the world at the UN about Iraq WMD’s.Among a bevy of lies he claimed to the world that a picture of an old trailer with an old piece of irrigation equipment with tarp sides was a mobile biological or chemical weapons production facility. I was laughing on the floor at this craziness. Bearing false witness to bring about a war is a war crime. And he knowingly and wilfully lied in that crazy speech to bring about that idiotic war. Make of it what you will.

    He was one of the saner Republicans though.

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