By Peter Maass The Intercept
As secretary of state in 2003, Powell lied at the United Nations about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction.
“I am saddened by the death of Colin Powell without being tried for his crimes in Iraq.” —Muntadher Alzaidi
Colin Powell is being hailed, at his death, as a trailblazer. He certainly was that.
Raised in the South Bronx by immigrant parents, Powell was a graduate of the City College of New York and rose through the ranks of the U.S. military to become chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush during the Persian Gulf War. After that — and most famously — he served as America’s first Black secretary of state during the presidency of George W. Bush. He died today at 84 of complications related to Covid-19.
His contemporaries in the U.S. cannot find enough words of praise. “Colin Powell was the North Star to a generation of senior American military officers including me,” wrote retired Adm. James Stavridis. For Richard Haass, who heads the Council on Foreign Relations, Powell was “the most intellectually honest person I ever met.”
It’s a different story in Iraq, where millions of people likely share the sentiments of Muntadher Alzaidi, who memorably threw his shoes at George W. Bush during a 2008 press conference in Baghdad. Reacting to Powell’s death, Alzaidi expressed sadness only over the fact that he did not face a war crimes trial for his pivotal role in the invasion of Iraq. “I am sure that the court of God will be waiting for him,” Alzaidi wrote on Twitter.