Joe Barbieri ‘23
On Monday, the world lost a true American patriot. Colin Powell, the first African American Secretary of State, died from complications of COVID-19. Powell, who was fully vaccinated, was also battling blood cancer.
During his career, Powell held various bureaucratic positions, such as National Security Advisor and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Chairman, Powell oversaw the invasion of Panama, Operation Desert Storm, and the Persian Gulf War.
However, his term as Secretary of State was marred by controversy. Powell and President Bush often clashed on the situation in Iraq pertaining to Saddam Hussein’s alleged buildup of Weapons of Mass Destruction. In a speech at the United Nations Security Council, Powell stated that “there can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.” As later proven, there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. Powell would later resign as Secretary of State in 2005.
Powell’s experience in the military made him very popular among Democrats and Republicans, and he was even touted as a potential presidential candidate for both parties. Like Dwight D. Eisenhower, Powell could have easily been elected president had he chosen to run.
General Powell’s death is another ugly reminder of the damage that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. Despite this, Colin Powell lived the American dream. Growing up the son of Jamaican immigrants, he studied hard and became the independent and brilliant-minded statesman that everyone loved and respected. Rest in Peace, General Powell.