"Shooting Ghosts" authors on returning home from war

"Shooting Ghosts"

More than sixteen years after the U.S. fired the first shots against Afghanistan's Taliban government, America's longest war has taken a new turn.  In a late-August address, President Donald Trump laid out his plans to ramp-up American involvement, sending some 4,000 additional troops to the region.

"Face the Nation," moderator John Dickerson spoke that week to the authors of the memoir "Shooting Ghosts: A U.S. Marine, a Combat Photographer, and Their Journey Back from War" - retired U.S. Marine Sergeant Thomas "TJ" Brennan and award-wining combat photojournalist Finbarr O'Reilly.

The book chronicles their shared experiences under-fire in Afghanistan as well as their difficulties returning home.

"I think what a lot of people don't realize when people come home from wars is the toll that it takes on a military family" Brennan said. "When I came home from war I came home a different person."

Dickerson asked O'Reilly about photographing servicemen and capturing them at their most vulnerable.

"You have to be very empathetic to the stories that you're covering." O'Reilly said and added, "but at the same time you have to dull your emotions a little bit in order to not feel overwhelmed."

O'Reilly told Dickerson that writing the book  served as a tool to help both men cope with their post-war lives by finding a new sense of purpose.

He also stated that the book should serve as a tool to help others in similar situations "so that they may not feel so alone in those times where we felt very alone ourselves."

"Trauma is a very isolating kind of thing and the inclination is to turn inward and away from people at the very time when you need their support to move through this."

Today, Thomas Brennan is the founder and editor of the warhorse.org, a news website covering military and veterans issues.  Finbarr O'Reilly's work can be found at www.finbarr-oreilly.com.