|65th United States Secretary of State|
From: January 20, 2001-January 26, 2005
|President||George W. Bush|
|Spouse(s)||Alma Vivian Johnson Powell|
General Colin Luther Powell, United States Army (Ret.) (born April 5, 1937) was the 65th United States Secretary of State (2001-05) under President George W. Bush and is a liberal member of the Republican Party. As a General in the United States Army, Powell also served as National Security Advisor (1987–1989), and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989–1993) he became the highest ranking African American government official in the history of the United States.
While at City College Powell joined the Reserve Officers' Training Corps and later described it as one of the happiest experiences of his life: finding something he loved and could do well, he had "found himself." After graduating from City College in June 1958, he was granted a commission as an Army Second Lieutenant. Powell was a professional soldier for 35 years, during which time he held a variety of command and staff positions and later served as a General. During his military career Powell received the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and the Soldiers Medal.
At the age of 49, Powell became President Ronald Reagan's National Security Advisor, serving from 1987 to 1989. He retained his Army commission (he was a Lieutenant General at the time of his nomination) while serving as National Security Advisor. After his tenure, Powell was promoted to 4-star General under President George H.W. Bush.
From 1989 to 1993, General Powell served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the Department of Defense. During this time, he oversaw 28 crises, including the invasion of Panama in 1989 to remove General Manuel Noriega from power in 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. During these events, Powell earned his nickname, "the reluctant warrior". After the end of Persian Gulf War, Colin Powell outlined his vision for efficient and decisive military action. His plan is now referred to as the Powell Doctrine. The Doctrine expresses that military action should be used only as a last resort and only if there is a clear risk to national security by the intended target; the force, when used, should be overwhelming and disproportionate to the force used by the enemy; there must be strong support for the campaign by the general public; and there must be a clear exit strategy from the conflict in which the military is engaged.administration, Powell was tremendously popular among the American people. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Powell's job became of critical importance in managing America's relationships with foreign countries in order to secure a stable coalition in the War on Terrorism. Powell is best known in the international community for testifying to the United Nations in 2003 about the specifics of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program and for failing to generate international support for United States' foreign policy in George W. Bush's first term. After Powell left the National Security Council, the fortunes for the United States markedly improved in diplomacy (with countries like France) and in the Iraq War after the troop surge was implemented in George W. Bush's second term. In 2008, he endorsed Barack Obama, who had opposed the surge in 2007.
Colin Powell is a liberal or moderate Republican who is pro-choice regarding abortion, supports affirmative action and "reasonable" gun control. Although Powell was against gay marriage at the time (now he's supportvie of it), he helped craft the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy in the United States military, along with Bill Clinton. He has also been critical of the current policy in Iraq. In 2005, Powell telephoned two Senator's, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska (also liberal Republicans) asking them to oppose the nomination of John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations. In September 2005, Powell criticized the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. He also opposed Guantanamo Bay and stripping Geneva Convention protections from captured terrorists. Powell was mentioned as a potential running mate for John McCain, but said he was no longer interested in elected office.
On 19 October 2008, Powell endorsed Barack Obama for President. Powell said that Obama was a "transformational figure coming into the world stage"  and expressed disappointment in what he called the "negative tone" of McCain's campaign, as well as in McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential nominee  saying that she lacked experience even as he was supporting a candidate with one year of experience in the Senate before running for President. Powell went on to criticize other Republicans for what he claims is insistence on their part that Obama is a Muslim stating, "I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the Republican Party say... such things as 'Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim'. Well the correct answer is, 'He's not a Muslim, he's 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 is 'No', that's not America." A month prior, Powell had said that the thought of an African American President was 'electrifying'. In his speech backing Obama, he also said he did not want to see the appointment of Conservative Supreme Court Justices. Along with Palin, he's also been critical of other influential people in the Republican Party, such as radio host Rush Limbaugh, who he claims engages in an "ugly" kind of politics, commentator Ann Coulter, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who's statement that Obama might hold anti-American views influenced his decision to endorse the Illinois Senator, those who doubt the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate, and various members of the Bush administration, including former Vice-President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, whose conflicts with him, it's believed, caused him to resign his position.
Family and personal information
Powell has been married to Alma Vivian Johnson since 1962. They have one child, a son, Michael (1963). The Powells are Episcopalians. One of Colin Powell's hobbies is restoring classic automobiles.
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