Colin Powell
American statesman, military officer
Colin Powell
Colin Luther Powell is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African American to serve in that position. During his military career, Powell also served as National Security Advisor, as Commander of the U.S.
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News
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Colin Powell Says U.S. Politics Too Polarized
Wall Street Journal - 7 days
Former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell on Thursday called on leaders in Washington as well as everyday Americans to ratchet down what has become a highly charged, insult-laden political environment.
Article Link:
Wall Street Journal article
The 722: The Military Religious Freedom Foundation's Statement On Trump's 'Muslim Ban'
Huffington Post - 23 days
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) fervently condemns the so-called "Muslim Ban" disgrace capriciously imposed by Donald Trump. Nothing could be further from the democratic ideals of American freedom, liberty, generosity, compassion, sympathy and empathy. Trump and his bigotry-spewing advisors have been revealed to be what they tragically are; wretchedly bereft, on an international scale, of these very same democratic ideals of national virtue. Barring human beings, especially war ravaged refugees, from entry to America based solely upon their "wrong choice" of practicing the Islamic religious faith is bitterly anathema to not merely the American way, but the Human Way. It is deplorable. It is disgraceful. It is un-American. It is inhuman. It is illegal. It must not be allowed to stand. MRFF presently represents 722 proud Muslim-American members of the U.S. Marine Corps, Army, Navy and Air Force. They are military pilots, gunners, Rangers, submariners, doctor ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Flynn takes a page from Colin Powell at NSC
CNN - 24 days
Amid controversy over the reshuffling of the National Security Council, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn penned a memo to the each of the Cabinet departments in the NSC striking a conciliatory tone.
Article Link:
CNN article
Bush-era ex-officials speak out against Trump on torture
Yahoo News - 28 days
The failure of the US to punish the perpetrators of torture had "left the door open" for future abuses, former officials of the administration of US president George W. Bush said Thursday. "Donald Trump has promised to walk through that door," Lawrence Wilkerson, the former chief of staff of Bush's secretary of state Colin Powell, told a conference in Paris, the day after the new president said he thinks "absolutely" that torture works. Under Bush, "what worried me was that no one of any stature" such as then CIA chief George Tenet or White House counsel Alberto Morales -- who drafted the infamous January 2002 "torture memo" setting out a legal rationale for torture -- "had in any way, fashion or form been punished," Wilkerson said.
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Yahoo News article
In A Single Day, US Congress Castigates Both The UN And Obama Over Israeli Vote
Huffington Post - about 1 month
While Washington is caught up in the unfolding drama about the extent and motives of Russian hacking and possible attempted manipulation of the 2016 American presidential election, another story is playing out around threats to "punish" the United Nations. On Jan.5, the United States House of Representatives voted to repudiate the Security Council resolution on Dec. 23 that condemned Israel for its unending building of settlements on Palestinian land. The UN was not the only target in this Congressional move. The administration of President Barack Obama and his secretary of state, John Kerry, were also censured for abstaining in the 15-member Security Council and allowing the resolution to pass 14-0. There is nothing legal or procedural that Congress can do to reverse the resolution. The "passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 undermined the long-standing position of the United States to oppose and veto United Nations Security Council resolutions that seek t ...
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Huffington Post article
The Note: Trump Takes the Electoral College
ABC News - 2 months
NOTABLES --TRUMP SURPASSES 270 ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTES: Donald Trump surpassed 270 Electoral College votes yesterday, meaning that he has the required number of votes to be elected president. The milestone came when electors in Texas cast their votes. There were 10 electors who did not cast ballots for the candidate they were expected to vote for: eight who were supposed to vote for Hillary Clinton and two who were supposed to vote for Trump but voted for other candidates. Four of the electors who were set to vote for Clinton were in Washington state. Three of them voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and the fourth voted for Native American tribal leader Faith Spotted Eagle, according to the Washington secretary of state. ABC’s MEGHAN KENEALLY, SHUSHANNAH WALSHE and ALANA ABRAMSON have more: http://abcn.ws/2gUdXvX --ANALYSIS -- ABC’s RICK KLEIN: What would Hamilton have thought of Faith Spotted Eagle? She’s the Sioux leader best known of late for helping block the... ...
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ABC News article
Russia Stole The Presidency. The Electoral College Can Take It Back.
Huffington Post - 3 months
We now know that the American election was stolen by a loose affiliation of Russian infiltrators, American white supremacists, and FBI enablers -- with an assist from elected quislings like Mitch McConnell. Donald Trump, it turns out, is no more the duly elected president of the United States than I am the world's most decorated ballerina. Luckily, this can be rectified. You see, Donald Trump is by legal definition not the elected president. He is not even president-elect (a fictitious title, nowhere supported by the Constitution). He will not become president until the Electoral College votes him into office on December 19. And -- unless you sympathize with the notion of Vladimir Putin choosing the American Commander in Chief -- that must not happen. We have heard a great deal about how dissenting electors would somehow be traitorous; how they would subvert the will of the people; how they would be deeply un-American. It is time to dismiss this sophistry. First, we know w ...
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Huffington Post article
Teach Your Children Well
Huffington Post - 3 months
It takes political will to prevent genocide, not international law December 9th is the international day of genocide awareness and prevention. The Genocide Convention (1948) was a response to the Holocaust, marking the special status of mass murder committed with the intention of eliminating a category of people on the basis of their ethnicity or faith. The Genocide Convention has been followed by sundry international laws and treaties, aimed at creating legal norms recognized across the world as universal ethical standards. Yet, to judge by the collective impact of these worthy pieces of paper, the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648, guaranteeing state sovereignty, still overrides well-meaning attempts to stop leaders slaughtering their own people. The problem lies not in the absence of international law, but the lack of political will to enforce that law. World leaders regularly vow to never allow another genocide. However, the reality beyond their hyperbole is disappointing. ...
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Huffington Post article
How Will Khamenei And Trump Deal With Each Other?
Huffington Post - 3 months
During his campaign for presidency and afterwards, President-Elect Donald Trump has expressed his opposition to military intervention in other countries, as well as nation building such as, for example, what happened in Afghanistan. On January 20 Trump will begin his term as the president. He believes that the main threat in the Middle East is the Daesh (also known as the ISIS or ISIL), not the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and that in order to destroy Daesh, his administration will be willing to work with Russia and other nations. The Guardian recently reported that Donald Trump, Jr., recently met in Paris with Randa Kassis, a pro-Syrian government activist who believes that the war in Syria can be ended through cooperation between the U.S., Russia and the Syrian Government. Trump also met with Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D. Hawaii) who is strongly against U.S. intervention in Syria. But, although Iran has been fighting the Daesh fiercely, both in Syria and in Iraq, ...
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Huffington Post article
Potential Trump Attorney General Created A Muslim Registry During The Bush Administration
Huffington Post - 3 months
WASHINGTON ― One of Donald Trump’s most eye-popping campaign promises was a proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States. He later tried to amend his comments as a plan to “suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time it’s proven that vetting mechanisms have been put in place.”  Trump adviser Kris Kobach is ready to help Trump implement this proposal. Kobach is currently the secretary of state of Kansas and is reportedly under consideration to be the next U.S. attorney general. Kobach told Reuters this week that he is already looking at putting together a proposal to create a registry of immigrants from Muslim countries for Trump’s review.  Although he’s best-known for his hard-line stances on immigration and voting rights, Kobach’s previous and less-noticed experience makes him uniquely suited for this job: He was the man who designed and implemented a Muslim registry while working in President George W. Bush’s administr ...
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Huffington Post article
Teaching Election 2016 the Morning After and for the Next Four Years
Huffington Post - 3 months
I apologize for the length of this post; it is really two posts combined into one. Part 1 is Alan's Analysis of Election 2016. I open with my views as a historian, teacher, parent, grandparent, and citizen about what happened last week and my concerns about the future of the United States and the world. In Part 2 teachers partnered with the Hofstra University teacher education program discuss how they are addressing the election results in their classrooms. Part 1. Alan's Analysis of Election 2016 1. I was surprised but not shocked by the Presidential election results last week. Donald Trump, the Republican Party candidate, was elected President of the United States with a majority of the electoral vote, although almost two million more people actually voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton. The "split" suggests that Trump's election was a "correction" rather than a "mandate," although Trump and his supporters may not see it that way. Trump presented himself as the candidate of chang ...
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Huffington Post article
Think For Yourself
Huffington Post - 4 months
I am writing a novel about the implosion of America. I've been working on it for some time now. My husband asked recently whether I would finish it before I die. I responded, "I hope I finish it before it happens!" I call my book a cautionary tale. I caution readers that if we don't learn to work together for the good of our nation, we could lose it. The Kjoller letter (Herald-Zeitung, 10-21-16) is a prime example of the kind of blinding hatred that could bring our freedom and our representative-democracy down. The writer repeats the most hateful things he has read and heard -- but gives no real facts to back up his statements. If we are to keep our nation safe and free we cannot afford to listen to an angry person's diatribe and blindly follow his lead. If we are to keep our nation safe and free we must research history ourselves--not right-wing, left-wing, sexist, racist, or fascist propaganda--to learn what has happened in the past. Only then can we help chart a be ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
The Media's Fascination With Sensationalism: New Obamacare Premiums Emphasized, But Not the Subsidies
Huffington Post - 4 months
Watching the news over the last few days I was struck by how the mainstream cable networks, read that to mean CNN and MSNBC, accentuate the provocative, even after giving some attention to the whole story. A case in point, citing recent numbers about how Affordable Care Act premium rates are scheduled to rise, they declare it's in trouble. Though averages are 22%, they emphasized higher examples, such as over 100% for a 27-year old living in Arizona, not mentioning that in Indiana the rates were reduced by 3%. Hardly a balanced story, considering the official report said 77% of Obamacare registrants would be eligible for subsidies, making their premiums about $100 or less a month. 77%. That's over three quarters, folks, and nothing to be ashamed of. In particular, as Obamacare allowed twenty million to get insurance and has greatly reduced uninsured numbers to only 8.6 percent. But with Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon on CNN this was barely mentioned, if at all. Instead, it wa ...
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Huffington Post article
Colin Powell says he's voting for Hillary Clinton
CNN - 4 months
Former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday he'll vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, a high-profile snub of his party's standard-bearer, Donald Trump.
Article Link:
CNN article
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell to vote for Hillary Clinton
LATimes - 4 months
Campaign 2016 updates: Donald Trump had a chance to talk about bad news for Obamacare. He got very distracted Oct. 25, 2016, 1:56 p.m. Donald Trump spends a second day campaigning in Florida on Tuesday. Hillary Clinton also campaigns in Florida. Donald Trump held an unorthodox press event at his...
Article Link:
LATimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Colin Powell
    FORTIES
  • 2016
    On September 13, 2016, emails were obtained that revealed Powell's private communications regarding both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
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    In August 2016, Powell accused the Clinton campaign of trying to pin Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's email controversy on him.
    More Details Hide Details Speaking to People magazine, Powell said, "The truth is, she was using private email server for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did."
    In March 2016, Powell denounced the "nastiness" of the 2016 Republican primaries during an interview on CBS This Morning.
    More Details Hide Details He compared the race to a "reality show", and stated that the campaign had gone "into the mud".
  • 2015
    Powell has been very vocal on the state of the Republican party. Speaking at a Washington Ideas forum in early October 2015, he warned the audience that the Republican party had begun a move to the fringe right, lessening the chances of a Republican White House in the future.
    More Details Hide Details He also remarked on Republican presidential contender Donald Trump's statements regarding immigrants, noting that there were many immigrants working in Trump hotels.
  • 2013
    In 2013, he faced questions about a relationship with a Romanian diplomat, after a hacked AOL email account had been made public.
    More Details Hide Details He acknowledged a "very personal" email relationship but denied further involvement. Powell's civilian awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom (the second with distinction), the President's Citizens Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal, the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal, and the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award. Several schools and other institutions have been named in his honor and he holds honorary degrees from universities and colleges across the country. Azure, two swords in saltire points downwards between four mullets Argent, on a chief of the Second a lion passant Gules. On a wreath of the Liveries is set for Crest the head of an American bald-headed eagle erased Proper. And in an escrol over the same this motto, "DEVOTED TO PUBLIC SERVICE." The swords and stars refer to the former general's career, as does the crest, which is the badge of the 101st Airborne (which he served as a brigade commander in the mid-1970s). The lion may be an allusion to Scotland. The shield can be shown surrounded by the insignia of an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath (KCB), an award the General received after the first Gulf War.
  • 2012
    Writing on the 2012 Benghazi attack controversy surrounding Clinton, Powell said to then U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, "Benghazi is a stupid witch hunt."
    More Details Hide Details Commenting on Clinton in a general sense, Powell mused that "“Everything Clinton touches she kind of screws up with hubris," and in another email stated “I would rather not have to vote for her, although she is a friend I respect." Powell referred to Donald Trump as a "national disgrace", with "no sense of shame". He wrote candidly of Trump's role in the birther movement, which he referred to as "racist." Powell suggested that the media ignore Trump, saying, "To go on and call him an idiot just emboldens him." The emails were obtained by the media as the result of a hack.
    On October 25, 2012, 12 days before the presidential election, he gave his endorsement to President Obama for re-election during a broadcast of CBS This Morning.
    More Details Hide Details He cited success and forward progress in foreign and domestic policy arenas under the Obama Administration, and made the following statement: "I voted for him in 2008 and I plan to stick with him in 2012 and I'll be voting for and for Vice President Joe Biden next month." As additional reason for his endorsement, Powell cited the changing positions and perceived lack of thoughtfulness of Mitt Romney on foreign affairs, and a concern for the validity of Romney's economic plans. In an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos during ABC's coverage of President Obama's second inauguration, Powell criticized members of the Republican Party who "demonized the president." He called on GOP leaders to publicly denounce such talk.
  • 2011
    In a video that aired on CNN.com in November 2011, Colin Powell said in reference to Barack Obama, "many of his decisions have been quite sound.
    More Details Hide Details The financial system was put back on a stable basis."
  • 2010
    In September 2010, he criticized the Obama administration for not focusing "like a razor blade" on the economy and job creation.
    More Details Hide Details Powell reiterated that Obama was a "transformational figure."
  • THIRTIES
  • 2009
    In September 2009, Powell advised President Obama against surging US forces in Afghanistan.
    More Details Hide Details The president announced the surge the following December. On March 14, 2014, Salesforce.com announced that Powell had joined its Board of Directors. A liberal Republican, Powell is well known for his willingness to support liberal or centrist causes. He is pro-choice regarding abortion, and in favor of "reasonable" gun control. He stated in his autobiography that he supports affirmative action that levels the playing field, without giving a leg up to undeserving persons because of racial issues. Powell was also instrumental in the 1993 implementation of the military's don't ask, don't tell policy, though he later supported its repeal as proposed by Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen in January 2010, saying "circumstances had changed". The Vietnam War had a profound effect on Powell's views of the proper use of military force. These views are described in detail in the autobiography My American Journey. The Powell Doctrine, as the views became known, was a central component of U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf War (the first U.S. war in Iraq) and U.S. invasion of Afghanistan (the overthrow of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks). The hallmark of both operations was strong international cooperation, and the use of overwhelming military force.
    In a July 2009 CNN interview with John King, Powell expressed concern over President Obama growing the size of the federal government and the size of the federal budget deficit.
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  • 2008
    Later in a December 12, 2008, CNN interview with Fareed Zakaria, Powell reiterated his belief that during the last few months of the campaign, Palin pushed the Republican party further to the right and had a polarizing impact on it.
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    However, on October 19, 2008, Powell announced his endorsement of Barack Obama during a Meet the Press interview, citing "his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities", in addition to his "style and substance."
    More Details Hide Details He additionally referred to Obama as a "transformational figure". Powell further questioned McCain's judgment in appointing Sarah Palin as the vice presidential candidate, stating that despite the fact that she is admired, "now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president." He said that Obama's choice for vice-president, Joe Biden, was ready to be president. He also added that he was "troubled" by the "false intimations that Obama was Muslim." Powell stated that "Obama is a Christian—he's always been a Christian... But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America." Powell then mentioned Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, a Muslim American soldier in the U.S. Army who served and died in the Iraq War. He later stated, "Over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party has become narrower and narrower I look at these kind of approaches to the campaign, and they trouble me." Powell concluded his Sunday morning talk show comments, "It isn't easy for me to disappoint Sen. McCain in the way that I have this morning, and I regret that I think we need a transformational figure. I think we need a president who is a generational change and that's why I'm supporting Barack Obama, not out of any lack of respect or admiration for Sen.
    Following his endorsement of Barack Obama in October 2008, however, Powell praised General David Petraeus and U.S. troops, as well as the Iraqi government, concluding that "it's starting to turn around."
    More Details Hide Details By mid-2009, he had concluded a surge of U.S. forces in Iraq should have come sooner, perhaps in late 2003. Throughout this period, Powell consistently argued that Iraqi political progress was essential, not just military force. Powell donated the maximum allowable amount to John McCain's campaign in the summer of 2007 and in early 2008, his name was listed as a possible running mate for Republican nominee McCain's bid during the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
    In a 2008 interview on CNN, Powell reiterated his support for the 2003 decision to invade Iraq in the context of his endorsement of Barack Obama, stating: "My role has been very, very straightforward.
    More Details Hide Details I wanted to avoid a war. The president Bush agreed with me. We tried to do that. We couldn't get it through the U.N. and when the president made the decision, I supported that decision. And I've never blinked from that. I've never said I didn't support a decision to go to war." Powell's position on the Iraq War troop surge of 2007 has been less consistent. In December 2006, he expressed skepticism that the strategy would work and whether the U.S. military had enough troops to carry it out successfully. He stated: "I am not persuaded that another surge of troops into Baghdad for the purposes of suppressing this communitarian violence, this civil war, will work."
    Powell endorsed President Obama in 2008 and again in 2012.
    More Details Hide Details When asked why he is still a Republican on Meet the Press he said, "I’m still a Republican. And I think the Republican Party needs me more than the Democratic Party needs me. And you can be a Republican and still feel strongly about issues such as immigration, and improving our education system, and doing something about some of the social problems that exist in our society and our country. I don’t think there's anything inconsistent with this." While Powell was wary of a military solution, he supported the decision to invade Iraq after the Bush administration concluded that diplomatic efforts had failed. After his departure from the State Department, Powell repeatedly emphasized his continued support for American involvement in the Iraq War.
    Soon after Barack Obama's 2008 election, Powell began being mentioned as a possible cabinet member.
    More Details Hide Details He was not nominated.
    In 2008, Powell served as a spokesperson for National Mentoring Month, a campaign held each January to recruit volunteer mentors for at-risk youth.
    More Details Hide Details
    On November 11, 2008, Powell again dropped the puck in recognition of Military Appreciation Day and Veterans Day.
    More Details Hide Details Recently, Powell has encouraged young people to continue to use new technologies to their advantage in the future. In a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies to a room of young professionals, he said, "That's your generation a generation that is hard-wired digital, a generation that understands the power of the information revolution and how it is transforming the world. A generation that you represent, and you're coming together to share; to debate; to decide; to connect with each other." At this event, he encouraged the next generation to involve themselves politically on the upcoming Next America Project, which uses online debate to provide policy recommendations for the upcoming administration.
    Powell, in honor of Martin Luther King Day, dropped the ceremonial first puck at a New York Islanders ice hockey game at Nassau Coliseum on January 21, 2008.
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  • 2007
    At the 2007 Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, Powell revealed that he had spent two and a half hours explaining to President Bush "the consequences of going into an Arab country and becoming the occupiers."
    More Details Hide Details During this discussion, he insisted that the U.S. appeal to the United Nations first, but if diplomacy failed, he would support the invasion: "I also had to say to him that you are the President, you will have to make the ultimate judgment, and if the judgment is this isn't working and we don't think it is going to solve the problem, then if military action is undertaken I'm with you, I support you."
    In 2007 he joined the Board of Directors of Steve Case's new company Revolution Health.
    More Details Hide Details Powell also serves on the Council on Foreign Relations Board of directors.
  • 2006
    Also in 2006, Powell began appearing as a speaker at a series of motivational events called Get Motivated, along with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
    More Details Hide Details In his speeches for the tour, he openly criticized the Bush Administration on a number of issues. Powell has been the recipient of mild criticism for his role with Get Motivated which has been called a "get-rich-quick-without-much-effort, feel-good schemology."
    He backed Senators John Warner, John McCain and Lindsey Graham in their statement that U.S. military and intelligence personnel in future wars will suffer for abuses committed in 2006 by the U.S. in the name of fighting terrorism.
    More Details Hide Details Powell stated that "The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of America's fight against terrorism."
    In September 2006, Powell sided with more moderate Senate Republicans in supporting more rights for detainees and opposing President Bush's terrorism bill.
    More Details Hide Details
    On January 5, 2006, he participated in a meeting at the White House of former Secretaries of Defense and State to discuss United States foreign policy with Bush administration officials.
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  • 2005
    In September 2005, Powell criticized the response to Hurricane Katrina.
    More Details Hide Details Powell said that thousands of people were not properly protected, but because they were poor rather than because they were black.
    In July 2005, Powell joined Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, a well-known Silicon Valley venture capital firm, with the title of "strategic limited partner."
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    On April 28, 2005, an opinion piece in The Guardian by Sidney Blumenthal (a former top aide to President Bill Clinton) claimed that Powell was in fact "conducting a campaign" against Bolton because of the acrimonious battles they had had while working together, which among other things had resulted in Powell cutting Bolton out of talks with Iran and Libya after complaints about Bolton's involvement from the British.
    More Details Hide Details Blumenthal added that "The foreign relations committee has discovered that Bolton made a highly unusual request and gained access to 10 intercepts by the National Security Agency. Staff members on the committee believe that Bolton was probably spying on Powell, his senior advisors and other officials reporting to him on diplomatic initiatives that Bolton opposed."
    After retiring from the role of Secretary of State, Powell returned to private life. In April 2005, he was privately telephoned by Republican senators Lincoln Chafee and Chuck Hagel, at which time Powell expressed reservations and mixed reviews about the nomination of John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations, but refrained from advising the senators to oppose Bolton (Powell had clashed with Bolton during Bush's first term).
    More Details Hide Details The decision was viewed as potentially dealing significant damage to Bolton's chances of confirmation. Bolton was put into the position via a recess appointment because of the strong opposition in the Senate.
  • 2004
    Powell was the subject of controversy in 2004 when, in a conversation with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, he reportedly referred to neoconservatives within the Bush administration as "fucking crazies."
    More Details Hide Details In addition to being reported in the press (although the expletive was generally censored in the U.S. press), the quotation was used by James Naughtie in his book, The Accidental American: Tony Blair and the Presidency, and by Chris Patten in his book, Cousins and Strangers: America, Britain, and Europe in a New Century. In a September 2006 letter to Sen. John McCain, General Powell expressed opposition to President Bush's push for military tribunals of those formerly and currently classified as enemy combatants. Specifically, he objected to the effort in Congress to "redefine Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention." He also asserted: "The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism."
    On December 31, 2004, Powell rang in the New Year by pressing a button in Times Square with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to initiate the ball drop and 60 second countdown, ushering in the year 2005.
    More Details Hide Details He appeared on the networks that were broadcasting New Year's Eve specials and talked about this honor, as well as being a native of New York City.
    Powell announced his resignation as Secretary of State on November 15, 2004.
    More Details Hide Details According to The Washington Post, he had been asked to resign by the president's chief of staff, Andrew Card. Powell announced that he would stay on until the end of Bush's first term or until his replacement's confirmation by Congress. The following day, Bush nominated National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice as Powell's successor. News of Powell's leaving the Administration spurred mixed reactions from politicians around the world — some upset at the loss of a statesman seen as a moderating factor within the Bush administration, but others hoping for Powell's successor to wield more influence within the cabinet. In mid-November, Powell stated that he had seen new evidence suggesting that Iran was adapting missiles for a nuclear delivery system. The accusation came at the same time as the settlement of an agreement between Iran, the IAEA, and the European Union.
    After Saddam Hussein had been deposed, Powell's new role was to once again establish a working international coalition, this time to assist in the rebuilding of post-war Iraq. On September 13, 2004, Powell testified before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, acknowledging that the sources who provided much of the information in his February 2003 UN presentation were "wrong" and that it was "unlikely" that any stockpiles of WMDs would be found.
    More Details Hide Details Claiming that he was unaware that some intelligence officials questioned the information prior to his presentation, Powell pushed for reform in the intelligence community, including the creation of a national intelligence director who would assure that "what one person knew, everyone else knew." Additionally, Powell has been critical of other instances of U.S. foreign policy in the past, such as its support for the 1973 Chilean coup d'état. From two separate interviews in 2003, Powell stated in one about the 1973 event "I can't justify or explain the actions and decisions that were made at that time. It was a different time. There was a great deal of concern about communism in this part of the world. Communism was a threat to the democracies in this part of the world. It was a threat to the United States." In another interview, however, he also simply stated "With respect to your earlier comment about Chile in the 1970s and what happened with Mr. Allende, it is not a part of American history that we're proud of."
    A 2004 report by the Iraq Survey Group concluded that the evidence that Powell offered to support the allegation that the Iraqi government possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) was inaccurate.
    More Details Hide Details In an interview with Charlie Rose, Powell contended that prior to his UN presentation, he had merely four days to review the data concerning WMD in Iraq. A Senate report on intelligence failures would later detail the intense debate that went on behind the scenes on what to include in Powell's speech. State Department analysts had found dozens of factual problems in drafts of the speech. Some of the claims were taken out, but others were left in, such as claims based on the yellowcake forgery. The administration came under fire for having acted on faulty intelligence, particularly what was single-sourced to the informant known as Curveball. Powell later recounted how Vice President Dick Cheney had joked with him before he gave the speech, telling him, "You've got high poll ratings; you can afford to lose a few points." Powell's longtime aide-de-camp and Chief of Staff from 1989–2003, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, later characterized Cheney's view of Powell's mission as to "go up there and sell it, and we'll have moved forward a peg or two. Fall on your damn sword and kill yourself, and I'll be happy, too."
  • 2003
    Powell's chief role was to garner international support for a multi-national coalition to mount the invasion. To this end, Powell addressed a plenary session of the United Nations Security Council on February 5, 2003, to argue in favor of military action.
    More Details Hide Details Citing numerous anonymous Iraqi defectors, Powell asserted that "there can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more." Powell also stated that there was "no doubt in my mind" that Saddam was working to obtain key components to produce nuclear weapons. Most observers praised Powell's oratorical skills. However, Britain's Channel 4 News reported soon afterwards that a UK intelligence dossier that Powell had referred to as a "fine paper" during his presentation had been based on old material and plagiarized an essay by American graduate student Ibrahim al-Marashi.
  • 2001
    On September 11, 2001, Powell was in Lima, Peru, meeting with President Alejandro Toledo and US Ambassador John Hamilton, and attending the special session of the OAS General Assembly that subsequently adopted the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
    More Details Hide Details
    In a press statement on February 24, 2001, he had said that sanctions against Iraq had prevented the development of any weapons of mass destruction by Saddam Hussein.
    More Details Hide Details As was the case in the days leading up to the Persian Gulf War, Powell was initially opposed to a forcible overthrow of Saddam, preferring to continue a policy of containment. However, Powell eventually agreed to go along with the Bush administration's determination to remove Saddam. He had often clashed with others in the administration, who were reportedly planning an Iraq invasion even before the September 11 attacks, an insight supported by testimony by former terrorism czar Richard Clarke in front of the 9/11 Commission. The main concession Powell wanted before he would offer his full support for the Iraq War was the involvement of the international community in the invasion, as opposed to a unilateral approach. He was also successful in persuading Bush to take the case of Iraq to the United Nations, and in moderating other initiatives. Powell was placed at the forefront of this diplomatic campaign.
    He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under U.S. President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005, the first African American to serve in that position.
    More Details Hide Details During his military career, Powell also served as National Security Advisor (1987–1989), as Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command (1989) and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989–1993), holding the latter position during the Persian Gulf War. Born in Harlem as the son of Jamaican immigrants, Powell was the first, and so far the only, African American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • 2000
    Once Texas Governor George W. Bush secured the Republican nomination, Powell endorsed him for president and spoke at the 2000 Republican National Convention.
    More Details Hide Details Bush eventually won, and Powell was appointed Secretary of State. As Secretary of State in the Bush administration, Powell was perceived as moderate. Powell was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate. Over the course of his tenure he traveled less than any other U.S. Secretary of State in 30 years.
    Powell was mentioned as a potential candidate in the 2000 U.S. presidential election, but decided against running.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1997
    In 1997 Powell founded America's Promise with the objective of helping children from all socioeconomic sectors.
    More Details Hide Details That same year saw the establishment of The Colin L. Powell Center for Leadership and Service. The mission of the Center is to "prepare new generations of publicly engaged leaders from populations previously underrepresented in public service and policy circles, to build a strong culture of civic engagement at City College, and to mobilize campus resources to meet pressing community needs and serve the public good."
  • 1996
    He was touted as a possible opponent of Bill Clinton in the 1996 U.S. presidential election, possibly capitalizing on a split conservative vote in Iowa and even leading New Hampshire polls for the GOP nomination, but Powell declined, citing a lack of passion for politics.
    More Details Hide Details Powell defeated Clinton 50–38 in a hypothetical match-up proposed to voters in the exit polls conducted on Election Day. Despite not standing in the race, Powell won the Republican New Hampshire Vice-Presidential primary on write-in votes.
  • 1992
    Put forth as a potential Democratic Vice Presidential nominee in the 1992 U.S. presidential election or even potentially replacing Vice President Dan Quayle as the Republican Vice Presidential nominee, Powell eventually declared himself a Republican and began to campaign for Republican candidates in 1995.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1989
    First printed in the August 13, 1989 issue of Parade magazine, these are Colin Powell's 13 Rules of Leadership.
    More Details Hide Details Powell's experience in military matters made him a very popular figure with both American political parties. Many Democrats admired his moderate stance on military matters, while many Republicans saw him as a great asset associated with the successes of past Republican administrations.
    During this time, he oversaw 28 crises, including the invasion of Panama in 1989 to remove General Manuel Noriega from power and Operation Desert Storm in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
    More Details Hide Details During these events, Powell earned his nickname, "the reluctant warrior." He rarely advocated military intervention as the first solution to an international crisis, and instead usually prescribed diplomacy and containment. As a military strategist, Powell advocated an approach to military conflicts that maximizes the potential for success and minimizes casualties. A component of this approach is the use of overwhelming force, which he applied to Operation Desert Storm in 1991. His approach has been dubbed the "Powell Doctrine". Powell continued as chairman of the JCS into the Clinton presidency but as a dedicated "realist" he considered himself a bad fit for an administration largely made up of liberal internationalists. He clashed with then-U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright over the Bosnian crisis, as he opposed any military interventions that didn't involve US interests. During his chairmanship of the JCS, there was discussion of awarding Powell a fifth star, granting him the rank of General of the Army. But even in the wake of public and Congressional pressure to do so, Clinton-Gore presidential transition team staffers decided against it.
    Powell's last military assignment, from October 1, 1989, to September 30, 1993, was as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the Department of Defense.
    More Details Hide Details At age 52, he became the youngest officer, and first Afro-Caribbean American, to serve in this position. Powell was also the first JCS Chair who received his commission through ROTC.
    In April 1989, after his tenure with the National Security Council, Powell was promoted to four-star general under President George H. W. Bush and briefly served as the Commander in Chief, Forces Command (FORSCOM), headquartered at Fort McPherson, Georgia, overseeing all Army, Army Reserve, and National Guard units in the Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.
    More Details Hide Details He became only the third general since World War II, joining Dwight D. Eisenhower and Alexander Haig, to reach four-star rank without ever serving as a division commander. Later that year, President George H. W. Bush selected him as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • 1987
    Following the Iran Contra scandal, Powell became, at the age of 49, Ronald Reagan's National Security Advisor, serving from 1987 to 1989 while retaining his Army commission as a lieutenant general.
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  • 1986
    In 1986, Powell took over the command of V Corps in Frankfurt, Germany, from Robert Lewis "Sam" Wetzel.
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  • 1983
    After he left Fort Carson, Powell became senior military assistant to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, whom he assisted during the 1983 invasion of Grenada and the 1986 airstrike on Libya.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1975
    During 1975–1976 he attended the National War College, Washington, D.C.
    More Details Hide Details In his autobiography, My American Journey, Powell named several officers he served under who inspired and mentored him. As a lieutenant colonel serving in South Korea, Powell was very close to General Henry "Gunfighter" Emerson. Powell said he regarded Emerson as one of the most caring officers he ever met. Emerson insisted his troops train at night to fight a possible North Korean attack, and made them repeatedly watch the television film Brian's Song to promote racial harmony. Powell always professed that what set Emerson apart, was his great love of his soldiers and concern for their welfare. After a race riot occurred, in which African-American soldiers almost killed a Caucasian officer, Powell was charged by Emerson to crackdown on black militants; Powell's efforts led to the discharge of one soldier, and other efforts to reduce racial tensions. In the early 1980s, Powell served at Fort Carson, Colorado.
  • 1972
    Powell served a White House Fellowship, a highly selective and prestigious position, under President Richard Nixon from 1972 to 1973.
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  • OTHER
  • 1968
    He returned to Vietnam as a major in 1968, serving in the 23rd Infantry Division, then as assistant chief of staff of operations for the Americal Division.
    More Details Hide Details During the second tour in Vietnam he was decorated for bravery after he survived a helicopter crash, single-handedly rescuing three others, including division commander Major General Charles Martin Gettys, from the burning wreckage. Powell was charged with investigating a detailed letter by 11th Light Infantry Brigade soldier Tom Glen, which backed up rumored allegations of the My Lai Massacre. He wrote: "In direct refutation of this portrayal is the fact that relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent." Later, Powell's assessment would be described as whitewashing the news of the massacre, and questions would continue to remain undisclosed to the public. In May 2004 Powell said to television and radio host Larry King, "I was in a unit that was responsible for My Lai. I got there after My Lai happened. So, in war, these sorts of horrible things happen every now and again, but they are still to be deplored."
  • 1962
    Powell married Alma Johnson on August 25, 1962.
    More Details Hide Details Their son, Michael Powell, was the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from 2001 to 2005. His daughters are Linda Powell, an actress, and Annemarie Powell. As a hobby, Powell restores old Volvo and Saab cars.
    Captain Powell served a tour in Vietnam as a South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) advisor from 1962 to 1963.
    More Details Hide Details While on patrol in a Viet Cong-held area, he was wounded by stepping on a punji stake. The large infection made it difficult for him to walk, and caused his foot to swell for a short time, shortening his first tour.
  • 1958
    He received his BS degree in geology from the City College of New York in 1958 and has said he was a 'C average' student.
    More Details Hide Details He later earned an MBA degree from the George Washington University in 1971, after his second tour in Vietnam. Despite his parents' pronunciation of his name as, Powell has pronounced his name since childhood, after the heroic World War II flyer Colin P. Kelly Jr.. Public officials and radio and television reporters have used Powell's preferred pronunciation. Powell was a professional soldier for 35 years, holding a variety of command and staff positions and rising to the rank of General. Powell described joining the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) during college as one of the happiest experiences of his life; discovering something he loved and could do well, he felt he had "found himself." According to Powell: It was only once I was in college, about six months into college when I found something that I liked, and that was ROTC, Reserve Officer Training Corps in the military. And I not only liked it, but I was pretty good at it. That's what you really have to look for in life, something that you like, and something that you think you're pretty good at. And if you can put those two things together, then you're on the right track, and just drive on. Cadet Powell joined the Pershing Rifles, the ROTC fraternal organization and drill team begun by General John Pershing. Even after he had become a general, Powell kept on his desk a pen set he had won for a drill team competition.
  • 1954
    Powell was raised in the South Bronx and attended Morris High School, from which he graduated in 1954. (This school has since closed.)
    More Details Hide Details While at school, Powell worked at a local baby furniture store, where he picked up Yiddish from the eastern European Jewish shopkeepers and some of the customers. He also served as a Shabbos goy, helping Orthodox families with needed tasks on the Sabbath.
  • 1937
    Powell was born on April 5, 1937, in Harlem, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, to Jamaican immigrant parents Maud Arial (née McKoy) and Luther Theophilus Powell.
    More Details Hide Details His parents were both of mixed African and Scots ancestry. Luther worked as a shipping clerk and Maud as a seamstress.
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