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Biden, Bush among leaders paying tribute to Powell

U.S. SEC. OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN: “Colin Powell dedicated his extraordinary life to public service because he never stopped believing in America. And we believe in America in no small part because it helped produce someone like Colin Powell.”Tributes poured in Monday for former Secretary of State and top military general Colin Powell, who died at age 84. Current Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Powell’s life “a victory” for the military, the nation… “and in a larger sense, a victory for the American dream.” President Joe Biden described Powell as (quote) “a dear friend and a patriot of unmatched honor and dignity” who (quote) “embodied the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat.” Biden added that Powell could also (quote) “drive his Corvette Stingray like nobody’s business.” Powell served under three Republican presidents – as national security advisor for Ronald Reagan, chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs for George H.W. Bush and as secretary of state for George W. Bush. And he was the first Black person to serve in each of those roles, Vice President Kamala Harris noted on Monday. “When he filled those roles, he was, by everything that he did and the way he did it, inspiring so many people.” George W. Bush recalled that many presidents relied on Powell’s counsel, adding he was (quote) “such a favorite of presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice.” But it was under Bush that Powell delivered what he later called (quote) “a blot” that would “always be part” of his record – making Bush’s case to the U.N. Security Counsel that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction. It was the basis for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Powell later admitted that his presentation was rife with inaccuracies provided by others in the administration. In 2008, Powell broke with his party to endorse Democrat Barack Obama.Obama on Monday called Powell an exemplary soldier and patriot, adding, “although he’d be the first to acknowledge that he didn’t get every call right, his actions reflected what he believed was best for America and the people he served.”Powell died of complications from COVID-19. He had previously been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, that was in remission and early stage Parkinson’s disease, a close friend of his told Reuters. The blood cancer reduces the body’s ability to fight infection and puts people at higher risk for severe COVID. In a brief statement, the Powell family said he had been fully vaccinated and thanked the staff at the Walter Reed Medical Center who treated him.

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