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Colin Powell, top U.S. soldier and diplomat, dies of COVID-19 complications

CoronavirusOct 19, 2021 01:52AM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. Army Four Star General and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks at the funeral for the late U.S. Army Four Star General H. Norman Schwarzkopf at the Cadet Chapel at the United States Military Academy at West Point, Ne 2/2

By Will Dunham and Arshad Mohammed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, a top military officer and a national security adviser, died on Monday at age 84 due to complications from COVID-19. He was fully vaccinated, his family said.

Powell had multiple myeloma, a blood cancer which was in remission, and early-stage Parkinson's disease, said a close friend who asked not to be named. The blood cancer reduces the body's ability to fight infection and puts people at higher risk for a severe case of the virus.

Powell served three Republican presidents in senior posts and ascended to leadership of the U.S. military as it was regaining its vigor after the trauma of the war in Vietnam, where he served two tours as an Army officer.

"We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American," his family said, thanking the staff of the military hospital near Washington who treated Powell but providing few details about his illness.

He was the top U.S. military officer when American-led forces drove Iraqi troops from Kuwait in 1991 and the chief U.S. diplomat in 2003 when Washington relied on erroneous intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify its invasion of Iraq.

The son of Jamaican immigrants who rose to the top of the national security establishment, Powell himself acknowledged that his presentation of that spurious U.S. intelligence would stain his record.

In a brief statement on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), the Powell family said he had died on Monday morning from COVID-19, had been fully vaccinated against the disease and thanked the medical staff at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center who treated him.

White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said hospitalization and death are "extremely rare" among the fully vaccinated and said Powell's death underscored that underlying health issues and other diseases can lead to greater risk from the virus.

“He had two very serious underlying conditions. And unfortunately, (vaccination) didn’t work. God love him,” President Joe Biden told reporters at a White House event on education. He again implored all Americans to get vaccinated.

Biden earlier praised Powell in a statement.

"Colin embodied the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat," Biden, describing Powell as a "patriot of unmatched honor and dignity" and a man who "could drive his Corvette Stingray like nobody's business."

Former President George W. Bush, a Republican who named Powell as U.S. secretary of state, noted that "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, referring to a medal viewed as the U.S. government's highest civilian award.

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Powell served as U.S. national security adviser under Republican President Ronald Reagan from 1987 to 1989. As a four-star Army general, he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Republican President George H.W. Bush during the 1991 Gulf War in which U.S.-led forces expelled Iraqi troops from neighboring Kuwait.

The New York native considered running for president in 1996, but his wife Alma's worries about his safety helped him decide otherwise. In 2008, he broke with his party to endorse Democrat Barack Obama, who became the first Black person elected to the White House.

Illustrating his deep misgivings about the evolution of the Republican Party as it has moved to the right, Powell endorsed Democrats Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election and Biden last year against Donald Trump. Powell called Trump a liar who presented a danger to the United States.

Biden, who painted his 2020 presidential candidacy against Trump as a fight for the United States' soul, thanked Powell for bucking his Republican Party to back him.

"I am forever grateful for his support of my candidacy for president and for our shared battle for the soul of the nation," Biden said.

Powell will forever be associated with his controversial presentation on Feb. 5, 2003, to the U.N. Security Council, making Bush's case that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein constituted an imminent danger to the world because of the country's stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.

He admitted later that the presentation was rife with inaccuracies and twisted intelligence provided by others in the Bush administration and represented "a blot" that will "always be a part of my record."

Richard Boucher, one of Powell's closest aides at the State Department, praised him for admitting the mistake.

"The honorable thing is to say 'I made a mistake.' Powell did that. He owned it. He owned his mistakes as much as his incredible successes," Boucher said.

Colin Powell, top U.S. soldier and diplomat, dies of COVID-19 complications
 

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Comments (20)
Saroop Calvete
Saroop Calvete Oct 19, 2021 10:54AM ET
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Where are those WMDs ? Lets go Brandon!
William Smith
William Smith Oct 18, 2021 11:26PM ET
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Fact, Powell wanted to invade Iraq because he believed they had weapons of mass destruction and had to be stopped. Fact, Powell endorsed Obama even though Obama/Kerry were negotiating to give Iran weapons of mass destruction. I've always wondered who bought him off.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Oct 18, 2021 11:26PM ET
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"Fact, Powell endorsed Obama even though Obama/Kerry were negotiating to give Iran weapons of mass destruction."  --- that is literally the opposite of fact, since Powell endorsed Obama in 2008 before he became president, but why let that stop a good rant eh?
Josh Davis
Josh Davis Oct 18, 2021 11:26PM ET
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Tre Hsi we gave them money and weapons just like the taliban recently. Dont let history repeat itself is the saying right ?
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Oct 18, 2021 11:26PM ET
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Josh Davis  who is "we" and what weapons did they (I am assuming you mean Iran) get from "us"?
Josh Davis
Josh Davis Oct 18, 2021 11:26PM ET
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Tre Hsi the taliban….we just armed them with billions in weapons dont act like we dont arm people behind closed doors. We fueled the drug war, the taliban, many many others
palmer gossett
palmer gossett Oct 18, 2021 8:40PM ET
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His endorsing Joe Biden for president, knowing as we all know, that Biden is unfit due to his mental decline, dementia. A clear observation by any clear minded individual such as Colin Powell. I'll admit that I actually liked this man at one time. But he also endorsed Hillary Clinton and we all knew she is a crook. As is her no morals husband.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Oct 18, 2021 8:40PM ET
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so you are saying a guy with dementia beat your candidate by 7 million votes, I think that says more about how bad your orange messiah as the candidate than grandpa joe
Josh Davis
Josh Davis Oct 18, 2021 8:40PM ET
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Tre Hsi if we cant foresic audit how do you know he won? They had 50k phantom voters in arizona alone which swings that to trump. I didnt vote for either but facts are facts.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Oct 18, 2021 8:40PM ET
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Josh Davis  "if we cant foresic audit how do you know he won?"  -- funny you mention forensic audit, because those ninja did the audit and agreed with the certified result that Biden was the winner in Arizona, in fact they found more votes for Biden and less votes for Trump, so as you say, facts are facts
Josh Davis
Josh Davis Oct 18, 2021 8:40PM ET
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Tre Hsi of course they censor. Anyways if you cant figure this stuff out good luck and youre not worth my time…
Bubba Born
Bubba Born Oct 18, 2021 8:38PM ET
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An honorable man, but still just a man! RiP.
Edward Gerety
EdwardTjGerety Oct 18, 2021 7:09PM ET
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He didn't die from Covid but rather old age and stress. Stop the Fear ********
Green Mango
Green Mango Oct 18, 2021 12:33PM ET
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Race baiter in the end, sorry it's true. Never spoke a word to condemn BLM *****and mayhem. Deep state pawn
Mohd Aznan
Aznan Oct 18, 2021 12:26PM ET
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May you NOT rest peacefully! Hope you suffered before Covid end your life! War criminal!
Millennial Metals
Millennial Metals Oct 18, 2021 12:18PM ET
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I guess those experimental jabs aren’t so effective afterall
Green Mango
Green Mango Oct 18, 2021 12:18PM ET
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Sure they are! Lots of additional deaths wherever to they gave been deployed.
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Oct 18, 2021 12:18PM ET
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Green Mango You should probably go post your misinformation (a.k.a. lies) elsewhere. Most of us are too smart to fall for the Q.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Oct 18, 2021 12:18PM ET
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so you are saying the Trump vaccines don't work?  say it aint so.....
Rodney Dangerfield
Rodney Dangerfield Oct 18, 2021 11:17AM ET
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yeah I think he died during the riots at the capital they strung him up.... that could be true you people believe other ridiculous things so that could be true lol
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Oct 18, 2021 11:17AM ET
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tell us more, Q
Banana Citizen
Banana Citizen Oct 18, 2021 10:48AM ET
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Another war criminal responsible for 1000s of deaths in Iraq
Theunissen Shames
Theunissen Shames Oct 18, 2021 10:40AM ET
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maybe iam the kast
Theunissen Shames
Theunissen Shames Oct 18, 2021 10:39AM ET
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Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Oct 18, 2021 10:35AM ET
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Maybe i am the last man on earth still value dignity, royaly and accountability. If i said # because i dont know #, i still own it. I dont blame anyone. I blame my #.
David David
David9 Oct 18, 2021 10:32AM ET
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He should have gotten the booster shot. If he took the vaccines early on, he definitely needed the booster shot after 6 months because he is old.
Josh Davis
Josh Davis Oct 18, 2021 10:32AM ET
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Bro obviously if he needed a booster the vaccines didnt work…why cant people see this ? Why are you dependent on the government ? Why do you think you need a vaccien to beat covid? Lol its incredibly ridiculous to have to ask these questions
Green Mango
Green Mango Oct 18, 2021 10:32AM ET
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You only need to get that if the first two don't get rid of you. Then more, until they finish the job
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Oct 18, 2021 10:32AM ET
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Josh Davis ******is wrong with you...try to make some sense. Can/do you read?
Ludovic Raymond
Ludovic Raymond Oct 18, 2021 10:32AM ET
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Thank you Doctor! We were missing your expertise and scientific insights, sonbadly
Millennial Metals
Millennial Metals Oct 18, 2021 10:25AM ET
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So i guess the vaccines dont work huh
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Oct 18, 2021 10:25AM ET
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Big brain?
Millennial Metals
Millennial Metals Oct 18, 2021 10:25AM ET
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Chris Cummins he had all the vaccines and covid still took his life…
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Oct 18, 2021 10:25AM ET
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Millennial Metals 95% effective...please don't be so slow. It will cost you throughout your life.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Oct 18, 2021 10:25AM ET
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so you are telling Trump lied about the vaccines' effectiveness?  tell us more.....
JP JATTAN
JP JATTAN Oct 18, 2021 10:13AM ET
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Both Saddam & Powell would be discussing WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION in detail Now.
emad hijazi
emad hijazi Oct 18, 2021 10:09AM ET
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a promotion for a booster shot .
Tyler Dunlap
Tyler Dunlap Oct 18, 2021 9:59AM ET
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Oh no! Anyway...
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy Oct 18, 2021 9:26AM ET
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Vaccine protected people around him, or I mean, he was protected, or no, without vaccine he would die much easier.  Anyway, Vaccinate ASAP!!!!
Josh Davis
Josh Davis Oct 18, 2021 9:26AM ET
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Chris Cummins wrong again. 39% effective actually read science. Otherwise if it was 95% why do you have waning immunity and boosters needed every 6 months.
Josh Davis
Josh Davis Oct 18, 2021 9:26AM ET
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Stupid censorship on this site bro
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Oct 18, 2021 9:26AM ET
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Josh Davis  If you are going to lie please post a link to your far-right (Q-based) website. I will link to CDC...https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7038e1.htm
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Oct 18, 2021 9:26AM ET
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Josh Davis I think they try to block lies, call it censorship if you want. You could also try not to lie so much.
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Oct 18, 2021 9:22AM ET
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Powell lied to Congress about Iraq WMD resulting in over 1 million dead Iraqis, displacement of other millions families, wounded Veterans, trillions in cost.
Henrik Elektriker
Henrik Elektriker Oct 18, 2021 9:22AM ET
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Yeah this one May not rest in peace. So much blood on his hands...
Ludovic Raymond
Ludovic Raymond Oct 18, 2021 9:22AM ET
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Henrik Elektriker if you had only achieved 1% of what he did in your life… maybe you would not be here writing non-sense
 
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