What Next

How Should We Remember Colin Powell?

Untangling the former general’s complicated legacy.


Episode Notes

Colin Powell, known as a “trailblazer” and “pathbreaker” in his military career, leaves behind a complicated legacy. The four-star general became a household name during the first Gulf War as the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and later the first Black secretary of state. Thirty years after his rise to national prominence, Powell’s death has prompted reflections on the Iraq War and his role in using false intelligence to justify the U.S. invasion.

Guest: Fred Kaplan, Slate’s War Stories columnist.

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Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Davis Land, Danielle Hewitt, Elena Schwartz, and Carmel Delshad.


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The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.