WorldColin Powell, the man through whom war came (Portrait)

Colin Powell, the man through whom war came (Portrait)


AA / Paris / Ümit Dönmez

Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell died Monday morning from complications from Covid-19, his family reported on social media.
“We would like to thank the medical staff at Walter Need National Medical Center for their dedicated care,” the Powell family said in a statement shared on Facebook, adding that they “lost a husband, father, grandfather and great American remarkable and loving “.

Colin Powell, 84, was “fully vaccinated” against Covid-19, according to his family’s statement.

– A well-stocked CV

Powell was the first black-skinned man to serve as United States Secretary of State (i.e., Minister of Foreign Affairs) from 2001 to 2005, during George W. Bush’s first presidential term, the highest position held by an African-American before the accession of Barack Obama, Bush’s successor, to the White House in January 2009.
Having been President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor to the United States from 1987 to 1989, he notably helped negotiate a number of non-proliferation treaties with Mikhail Gorbachev, head of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR).
Four-star General Powell had also assumed the role of Chief of Staff of the Armies for the next four years (1989-1993): once again, a first for an African American.
At that time, he became a popular figure in the United States, and was one of the potential candidates against Democrat Bill Clinton in the 1996 presidential elections.
It is, without a doubt, a prolific career for a man of modest Afro-Caribbean origin, born in a working-class neighborhood of New York (Harlem, Eastern United States), on the eve of the Second world war (1937).
In 2000, when he announced the appointment of Powell to the post of Secretary of State, George W. Bush had stressed that “General Powell is an American hero, an American model and a great American history”.
“In the frankness of his speech, his imposing integrity, his deep respect for our democracy and his sense of duty and honor as a soldier, Colin Powell demonstrates […] qualities which will make him a great representative of all the people of this country “, declared the newly elected American President.

– The lie of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq

Beyond a successful social and political rise, Powell, having known the Vietnam War (1955-1975) and having received a large number of honors and decorations for his military heroism, is also part, as Secretary State of his country, the political architects of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, following the deadly terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 against strategic points of US territory and after the launch of the American war in Afghanistan a few weeks later.
Known by political circles and the media for his opposition to a frontal war with Iraq, on February 5, 2003, Colin Powell nevertheless addressed the United Nations General Assembly, including himself in the American efforts aimed at get UN clearance for an invasion of Iraq.
The US Secretary of State had mentioned the famous reason for the presence of weapons of mass destruction in the country of the Middle East, which was then under the leadership of Saddam Hussein.
It turned out a few years later that his famous presentation to the UN Security Council, in which he held a vial, contained a computer-edited image of what he described as a “mobile weapons laboratory.” biological ”, information allegedly based on the claims of an Iraqi immigrant living in Germany who later admitted that they were false. Another inaccurate information reaching Powell referred to the presence of the armed terrorist group Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

– What will history remember?

Asked by the French media “L’Obs” in 2013, during the publication of his book “I had the chance”, Editions Odile Jacob, Powell declared: “Obviously I thought that the CIA had checked his information. So when, a few weeks later, the Agency told us that the “information” on the traveling biological laboratories came from Germany and that no American agent had questioned the main source of this hoax, I was stunned “.
“It is very hard to forget such a moment, especially when you have been told about it every day for ten years! Since I discovered that a lot of the information I was given was inaccurate, I keeps asking myself: what should I have done to avoid this? In my defense, I would say that I only had three days to prepare this presentation and that we had a very large number of documents to analyze “, noted the former US Secretary of State.
Noting that this was not a “deliberate lie” on his part, Powell declared that he was convinced of the veracity of his words.
“Everyone, the President, members of government and Congress believed it. The President chose me because I was the most credible to the international community, but, again, I was only relaying what the sixteen intelligence agencies were saying. And I think if you had been in my shoes and had seen the documents that were presented to me you would have believed in all of this, too “, Colin Powell noted.

“It’s a stain in my career … and it will always be a part of my past. It hurt me then. It hurts me now,” Powell said in a 2005 interview with the American television station. “ABC News”, in reference to these statements which he admitted to be false.

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