Colin Powell Quote
There is no absurdity so palpable but that it may be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to inculcate it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnit...
Powell was born in New York City in 1937 to parents who immigrated from Jamaica. He was raised in the South Bronx and educated in the New York City public schools, receiving a bachelor's degree in geology from the City College of New York (CCNY). He also participated in ROTC (Army Reserve Officer Training Corps) at CCNY and received a commission as an Army second lieutenant on graduation in June 1958. He was a professional soldier for 35 years, holding many command and staff positions and rising to the rank of four-star general. He was commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command in 1989.
Powell's last military assignment, from October 1989 to September 1993, was as Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, the highest military position in the United States Department of Defense. During this time, he oversaw twenty-eight crises, including the invasion of Panama in 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf War against Iraq in 1990–1991. He formulated the Powell Doctrine, which limits American military action unless it satisfies criteria regarding American national security interests, overwhelming force, and widespread public support. He served as secretary of state under Republican president George W. Bush. As secretary of state, Powell gave a presentation to the United Nations Security Council regarding the rationale for the Iraq War, but he later admitted that the speech contained substantial inaccuracies. He was forced to resign after Bush was reelected in 2004.In 1995, Powell wrote his autobiography, My American Journey, and then in retirement another book, It Worked for Me, Lessons in Life and Leadership (2012). He pursued a career as a public speaker, addressing audiences across the country and abroad. Before his appointment as Secretary of State, he chaired America's Promise. In the 2016 United States presidential election, Powell, who was not a candidate, received three electoral votes from Washington for the office of President of the United States. He won numerous U.S. and foreign military awards and decorations. His civilian awards included the Presidential Medal of Freedom (twice), the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, and the Secretary's Distinguished Service Award. Powell died from complications of COVID-19 in 2021, while being treated for a form of blood cancer that damaged his immune system.