Colin Powell was the very first secretary of state that was black. He served in the cabinet under President Bush from 2001-2005, and was front and center in the years following the horrifying terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Powell was a Republican, and described by the State Department as one of the biggest supporters of using swift military action to go against al Qaeda terrorists. Powell demanded the cooperation of Pakistan and Afghanistan to hunt down all those who were responsible for the deadly attacks.
Back in 2003, while Bush and his administration’s focus expanded to Iraq, Colin Powell pushed the UN inspectors to get to the bottom of rumors that Saddam Hussein was busy making weapons of destruction. Powell gave the U.N. intelligence in February of that year evidence that proved that Iraq had mass destruction weapons and was capable of producing more. In 2004, however, some of that information was found to be incorrect. Powell didn’t believe any military action should take place until a coalition of allies and an occupation plan that was long-term was in place. But, despite his advice, Bush’s administration took preemptive military action in Iraq.
The majority of Powell’s time as secretary of state was laser focused on Iraq and Afghanistan, but he did pursue many other area of foreign police in the U.S., like strengthening relationships with China and Russia. This included his effort to lead the U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile trat, as well as a signing of the Moscow Treaty.
Powell also pushed to gain cooperation from Iran and North Korea to stop their programs for nuclear weapons. It was und her leadership that Bush and his administration were able to achieve success in war-torn Libya, when it gave up its program for nuclear weapons back in 2003.
Powell was a huge proponent in the fight against AID on an international level, and secured funding for these programs.
He was born in Harlem, N.Y, on April 5, 1937. Both of his parents were immigrants from Jamaica, and he was raised in the South Bronx.
He attended college in New York before beginning his military service, where he would serve for 35 years. He was a military adviser dispatched under Kennedy to Vietnam in 1962.
He has a purple hear and a Bronze Star. In his second tour of Vietnam, he was injured during a crash in a helicopter, but still saved his fellow soldier from the crash, and was given the Soldier’s Medal. He was given 11 military decorations in total, include Legion of Merit.
He started in politics during Nixon, where he was stationed in the White House and received his MBA from the University of George Washington.
He then worked under Carter, Reagan and Busch in various roles. Many leading politicians had much to say about his passing, and he will be remembered for his service for many years to come.
Powell died of complications from COVID 19.
Author: Laura Brand