Prided himself as having been a Shabbos Goy while growing up in the Bronx

By Emily CraneOctober 18, 2021 8:14am  UpdatedColin Powell, former general and secretary of state, dead at 840:39/0:49 


Colin Powell, a retired four-star general and White House national security adviser who served as the nation’s first black secretary of state, died Monday as a result of complications from COVID-19, his family said.

The 84-year-old was fully vaccinated against the virus.

In his four decades of public life, Powell was the first black man to serve as national security adviser near the end of Ronald Reagan’s presidency and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993. In the latter role, he oversaw the US invasion of Panama and later the US invasion of Kuwait to oust the Iraqi army in 1991.

“General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19. He was fully vaccinated,” his family said in a statement on Facebook.

“We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment. We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American.”

Colin Powell.
Colin Powell when he was named to be the new national security adviser.

It wasn’t immediately what complications he suffered or how long Powell had been in the hospital prior to his death.

Powell had previously been diagnosed with multiple myeloma — a type of blood cancer that can limit the body’s ability to fight infection, NBC News reported. It was unclear how long he’d been battling the disease.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Alma Powell, and their three children.

Powell was also the first black secretary of state during President George W. Bush’s first term from 2001 to 2005.

His reputation suffered a painful setback in 2003 when he delivered a speech to the United Nations Security Council to make the case that the US should go to war against Iraq.

He cited false information that there was evidence that Iraq and Saddam Hussein were hiding weapons of mass destruction.

Powell resigned in 2005 and later referred to his UN speech as a “blot” that would forever tarnish his record.

Colin Powell, George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld.
Colin Powell (from left) with President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

In his 2012 memoir “It Worked for Me,” Powell wrote: “I am mad mostly at myself for not having smelled the problem. My instincts failed me.

“It was by no means my first, but it was one of my most momentous failures, the one with the widest-ranging impact.”

He added: “The event will earn a prominent paragraph in my obituary.”

Bush was among those to lead the tributes for Powell, saying he was “highly respected at home and abroad.”

Colin Powell
Colin Powell died Monday as a result of complications from COVID-19.

“He was a great public servant starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam. Many presidents relied on General Powell’s counsel and experience. He was such a favorite of presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice,” Bush said in a statement.

“He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I sent Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man.”

In paying tribute to his friend and mentor, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he felt “as if I have a hole in my heart.”

“The world lost one of the greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed. Alma lost a great husband, and the family lost a tremendous father, and I lost a tremendous personal friend and mentor,” Austin said.

“He has been my mentor for a number of years. He always made time for me and I could always go to him with tough issues. He always had great counsel. We will certainly miss him. I feel as if I have a hole in my heart just learning of this.”

Born in Harlem to Jamaican immigrant parents, Powell was raised in the South Bronx and graduated from City College of New York before joining the US Army.

In his 35 years as a professional soldier, Powell served two combat tours in Vietnam and held many command and staff positions before retiring as a four-star general.

As Reagan’s national security adviser, Powell helped negotiate treaties and cooperation with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at the end of the Cold War.

In his role as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Powell oversaw the US invasion of Panama and later the US invasion of Kuwait to oust Saddam Hussein’s army in 1991.

“Our strategy in going after this army is very simple,” Powell said at a Pentagon briefing regarding the military’s strategy. “First, we’re going to cut it off, and then we’re going to kill it.”

Colin Powell.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” Colin Powell’s family said in a statement.

When he was selected by Bush to serve as secretary of state, the president-elect lauded him as an “American hero, an American example and a great American story.”

“It’s a great day when a son of the South Bronx succeeds to the office first held by Thomas Jefferson,” Bush said in December 2000.

“I would say of General Powell what Harry Truman said of General [George] Marshall: He is a tower of strength and common sense.”

After resigning from the Bush administration in 2005 in the wake of his UN speech, Powell joined the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, where he worked as a strategic adviser.

Despite working as a public servant under GOP administrations, Powell went on to publicly endorse Democratic presidential candidates in recent years.

He supported Barack Obama in 2008 and endorsed Joe Biden in last year’s presidential election, prompting a scathing response from President Donald Trump, who slammed him as a “real stiff.”

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