By Darryl W. Perry

For most people, American foreign policy began on September 11, 2001. In some ways, I fit into this category, and in other ways I did not. I’ll explain. When I was young, maybe 9 or 10 years old, I vaguely recall hearing some of the news about the Iran-Iraq conflict, and vaguely recall the Iran-contra scandal, though never really understood what the issues were. I recall watching the Berlin Wall collapse, and being told that America had won the Cold War, but never really understood what the Cold War was. Then in 1991, George H.W. Bush sent troops into Kuwait to defend the tiny gulf nation from the Iraqi military. Several years later, Bill Clinton sent the military (under NATO command) to fight in what was essentially a civil war in Yugoslavia, and the US military for reasons still unknown bombed an aspirin factory.

What I would later find out is that American foreign policy, especially the interventionist foreign policy in the Middle East, began long before September 2001, or even the Iran-Iraq conflict of the 1980’s.

The US government, either covertly or overtly, supported at least three successful coups in the Middle East between 1949 and 1963, as well as several that were unsuccessful. Not to mention the support to undermine or weaken the governments of several Middle Eastern countries; or the support of Afghani freedom fighters to expel the Soviet invasion; or the sanctions imposed against the governments of Iran and Iraq; or the aid to the Israeli military in the form of money and weapons, which in part has been used to oppress the Palestinians. In short, for 50+ years before September 11, 2001, the government of the United States was intervening in the Middle East, and for 10 years before, the US military was bombing Iraq, and building bases. In 2007, Ron Paul said, “What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting. We need to look at what we do from the perspective of what would happen if somebody else did it to us.”

Some people say that anyone who says blowback is the reason for 9/11 is “blaming America for 9/11.” Which is absurd. Explaining why someone responded in a certain manner is not the same as condoning the response.

Between late 2004 and early 2007, I was still in a transition phase. The “Mission Accomplished” moment had persuaded me that the Iraq invasion was wrong. The Afghan government saw its first direct election; democracy was one of the goals of the War on Terror, right? And I finally began looking at the actual cost of the fighting. Not just the monetary costs, which in 2006 was over $400 billion, but also the human cost: approximately 60,000 civilians in Iraq, and upwards of 28,000 Afghan civilians, not including the thousand of military personnel who were killed as a result of the fighting. By late 2007, the “I support the troops” magnet was off my vehicle. By late 2008, there was a “War Is Not The Answer” sticker in its place.

My anti-war position was only strengthened after Private Manning revealed information exposing possible war crimes in 2010. During a pretrial conference on February 28, 2013, Manning, reading from a prepared statement, said there was no pressure by WikiLeaks to release the information, that The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Reuters had been approached with the documents, but they did not want what was being offered. Manning admitted to being “upset” or “disturbed” by the leaked information, but that it did not contain anything that would harm the United States if it became public. For this act of courage, and being a whistleblower is an act of courage, Private Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison. And unfortunately, the domestic debate that Private Manning hoped to spark, seems to have never really begun.

The preceding was an excerpt from the soon-to-be-published book, A Rebel’s Journey by Darryl W. Perry. There is a current fundraiser for the book to be published in a unique manner. If the goal is reached, the e-book and audio book will be released free of charge (special bonus audio content with the audio book for select donors), and the physical book will be available at the lowest possible price that my distributor allows. If you donate, not only can you get the e-book and the audio book for free, but you can get perks like bonus audio content (including interviews with Jeffrey Tucker, Lynn Ulbricht, Ben Stone and more) OR a signed copy of the paperback book and more!