The Passing of Colin Powell:
By Dale Nickey
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 10/19/21 – Colin Powell died October 18th, 2021 at the age of 84. Powell was suffering the effects of Covid-19 as he battled end-stage cancer. And fought his invisible enemies like a soldier to the end.
Powell was born in New York City in 1937 to Jamaican parents and was raised in the South Bronx. He attended City College of New York (CCNY) where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Geology. He also participated in CCNY’s ROTC program and received a commission as second lieutenant with The U.S. Army upon graduation in June 1958.
Powell will join the A-list of American statesmen who never became president. His service was consequential to U.S. History. He was a four-star general, the first black Secretary of State, first black National Security Advisor from 1987 to 1989; and first black Chairman of The Military Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993.
George W. Bush couldn’t have picked a better Secretary of State. Powell had all the credentials and respect from both sides of the aisle. He wasn’t a politician and wanted to keep it that way. Then Bush decided to go to war in Iraq as an adjunct to the original post 9-11 mission in Afghanistan. One problem, no Iraqis were involved in 9/11. Moreover, Iraq leader Saddam Hussein was a despot, but he wasn’t a radical Jihadist. The administration thought they could get a twofer in the region if they could come up with a reason for the invasion. Weapons of mass destruction were the pretext. But they needed Powell onboard to sell it.
Powell did due diligence and checked the available intelligence. He was assured that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq and Powell gave an impassioned 2003 speech to the UN justifying the American invasion. Post-invasion: the intelligence was proven wrong (perhaps manufactured) and Powell’s reputation took a hit.
In 2005, acknowledged the mistake and took ownership of his role promoting a war that never should have been. He was a Republican and remained one till the end of his life, but his relationship with the GOP was never the same. He routinely voted his conscience and endorsed both Barack Obama and Joseph Biden for President.
In 1995, Powell wrote his autobiography, My American Journey, and then in retirement another book, It Worked for Me, Lessons in Life and Leadership (2012).
The life and work of Colin Powell is a monument to a time when both major parties adhered to a default baseline of decency and patriotism that was immune to vicissitudes of party loyalty and political brinksmanship. His legacy will far outlast those enslaved to primary paranoia and fringe base hysteria. He is already missed.
Powell is survived by his wife Alma Johnson and three children. RIP