According to the former soldier, many of those who were deployed in Iraq ten years ago understood that the US military operation would have horrific consequences for the whole world.
"The death and destruction we've caused the people of Iraq would not go silently. [We knew] that there would be a response — and it would be a violent response — and that the more and more we stayed there, the more people we tortured, the more people we killed, the more innocent people, whose lives we destroyed, would eventually come back in the form of blow-back, unintended consequences and terrorism," Emanuele said.
Emanuele believes that the activities of Daesh terrorists are a logical outcome of the US intervention in the Middle East. Anyone whose relatives were tortured and killed would most likely respond to the violent actions of an aggressor in the same way, he argued.
"What would you do if you are in the position of Iraqi people being treated like this: having your mother slapped around, having your father tortured and killed, having your brother run over by a Humvee. How would you respond to that? " he asked, adding that this is exactly the way how such organizations as Daesh are created.
In 2006, after his second deployment to Iraq, Emanuele refused to be deployed for the third time and was discharged. Subsequently, he joined "Iraq Veterans Against the War," "Veterans for Peace" and other anti-war movements in order to raise public awareness about what really happens during the military operations overseas.
According to the veteran, only people who are directly affected by the war — the Iraqis, Afghans, Lybians along with the veterans and NGOs deployed in the crisis regions — understand "what the imperialist brutality looks like." For the West it is difficult to understand how horrific and brutal the war in Iraq really was and what exactly the US soldiers were doing abroad.
"And what had been going for many many years, of course, was one time killing of innocent civilians, the torture of innocent civilians, the mutilation of death bodies, taking pictures with that people and the list goes on and on and on," Emanuele explained.
The former US marine even gave a testimony before the US Congress in 2008, but did not get much of response. Many senators ignored the testimony and did not even bother to show up. Those who, however, did, were completely in shock.
"Most people in the West simply don't understand how brutal the wars are," the veteran said.
"We have to educate Americans. […] First of all, it helps to hear [the stories] first-hands from Iraqis and Afghans. I think if we could have done that for the last ten years, people would have been more inclined to actually listen to the people who are on the ground, who could blow apart the myths that the United States is the force for stability and security as opposed to a source of instability and insecurity".
For many years, thousands of US veterans have been telling stories about war atrocities and publishing articles in order to raise the public attention, but still have not achieved the desired result.
"People in the United States still view the United States as being a force of stability and security," Emanuele said, adding that until people finally understand the basic reality of the war, they will be inclined to respond to world crises in a militaristic manner.