‘I helped create ISIS’: Iraq War veteran says US policy caused ‘blowback’ in Middle East
Former Marine Vincent Emanuele’s acknowledgement of responsibility comes in an article that was posted on TeleSUR’s English website, in which he hoped to answer the often raised question of “Where did ISIS come from?”
“When I was stationed in Iraq with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 2003-2005, I didn’t know what the repercussions of the war would be, but I knew there would be a reckoning,” he wrote at TeleSUR. “That retribution, otherwise known as blowback, is currently being experienced around the world (Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, France, Tunisia, California, and so on), with no end in sight.”
Speaking with RT, Emanuele said his enlightenment came on his second tour to Iraq and was the result of a simple question.
“I saw my fellow Marines kill innocent people, torture innocent civilians, destroying property, mutilating dead bodies, running over dead corpses, laughing and photographing people while doing so,” he said. “For me it was very simple. I sat there in Iraq and I asked myself ‘How would I behave?’ ‘What would I think if I was in the shoes of the Iraqi people?’”
In his article, Emanuele described how he and his platoon literally trashed Mesopotamia by throwing garbage out of their Humvee, and pelting children with Skittles, water bottles full of urine, rocks, and debris. He remembers stories told by soldiers of torture carried out on detainees in makeshift detention facilities.
“I vividly remember the marines telling me about punching, slapping, kicking, elbowing, kneeing and head-butting Iraqis. I remember the tales of sexual torture; forcing Iraqi men to perform sexual acts on each other while marines held knives against their testicles, sometimes sodomizing them with batons,” wrote Emanuele.
This would have been at the height of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in 2003, which came to public attention when Amnesty International published reports of human rights abuses by the US military and its coalition partners at detention centers and prisons in Iraq. One former prisoner of the US who survived was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is now the leader of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).