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Colin Powell was the first African American appointed as the U.S. Secretary of State, and the first, and so far the only, to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
After growing up on the streets of the South Bronx, Colin Powell rose through the military ranks to become the 65th U.S. Secretary of State and the first African American appointed to the position.
Condoleezza Rice grew up in Jim Crow Alabama and went on to become the first female National Security Advisor and the first African-American female United States Secretary of State.
A short biography of Bill Clinton's rise to political power, his marriage to Hillary Clinton, his impeachment due to the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and his involvement in recreating the Democratic Party's image.
President Ronald Reagan lead the United States during the end of the Cold War and left an unforgettable legacy. He’s considered by many conservatives to be the greatest American President.
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During his tenure, Powell came under fire for his role in building the case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Initially, Powell had serious misgivings about President Bush's plan to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein. Powell believed the policy of containment was sufficient to control the Iraqi regime. He warned Bush that a military invasion would consume the president's first term and that if an attack were to occur,
it should use overwhelming force and have broad international support. This support would be key to the rebuilding of Iraq.
Bush decided to go to war and, in a crucial moment, Powell agreed to support the president. To advance the case for war with the international community, Powell appeared before the U.N. Security Council in February 2003 to present evidence that Iraq had concealed an ongoing weapons development program. Powell's reputation for integrity helped convince many in Congress and the country that Iraq posed an imminent threat.
For the remainder of Bush's first term, Colin Powell tried to establish an international coalition to assist in the rebuilding of Iraq. In September 2004, he testified before Congress that the intelligence sources he used in his February presentation to the United Nations were "wrong" and it was unlikely that Saddam had any stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. Powell advised the committee of the necessity to reform the intelligence community in order to improve its gathering and analysis. In 2004, after acknowledging it was unlikely that Iraq possessed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, Powell announced his resignation as secretary of state. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was his successor.
Since his retirement, Powell has remained vocal on political topics, openly criticizing the Bush administration on a number of issues. In September 2006, Powell joined moderate Senate Republicans in supporting more rights and better treatment for detainees at the Guantanamo detention facility. In October 2008, Colin Powell made headlines again when he announced his endorsement of Barack Obama for president.
Powell has also spent much of his retirement in the business community. In 2006, he was a speaker at a special series called Get Motivated, along with former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Powell also joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, as a "strategic limited partner." Most recently he joined the board of directors at Steve Case's new company, Revolution Health, a health-related portal site and social network that provides online tools to help people better manage their health.
Colin Powell has spent much of his life inspiring many with his leadership skills and life experiences. Along with his wife, Powell began America's Promise Alliance, as part of their dedication to the wellbeing of children and youth of all socioeconomic levels and their commitment to seeing that young people receive the resources necessary to succeed.
Colin Powell began his American journey from ordinary circumstances. His close-knit family provided support and a caring environment during his childhood. He found his calling in the military, and his entire adult life has been in the service of his country. As a soldier, he was committed to protecting the nation and advancing democratic values. While he gravitated toward support roles early in his career, his organizational talent and pragmatic outlook were recognized by those who placed him in key government advisory roles.
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