John Carmody served as a 2nd Lieutenant Platoon Commander in Vietnam from 1967-68, in an area called Leatherneck Square, nestled near the DMZ. He talks about the “unbridled brutality of war” and explains why it is “a sick process.” He also talks to us about his work with PeaceTrees Vietnam, his thoughts on PTSD and Just War Theory, and how he came to be the Founder and Director of the Center for Christian Nonviolence.
Silver Star (The only medals that are more prestigious than the Silver Star are the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross. Read his commendation below.)
“I was pretty afraid of my dad when he came back from Iraq. I didn’t know who this man…You can’t forget being terrified of your parent and terrified for your life.”
“I am married to a Marine who has been through five deployments…I think that I had just been lonely for so long that it felt like maybe I didn’t matter.”
“I lost my daughter two years later. She took her life over the death of her brother. She couldn’t handle the pain of her brother’s death.”
“I hadn’t even begun to comprehend Freddie’s death. He was killed in action. How could my brother take his life? I had lost my whole family, and all I could think about would it would be better if I was gone too.”
The New York Post ran an article on a retreat center that performs exorcisms on soldiers suffering from PTSD and Jennifer Percy’s book Demon Camp:
“Army machine-gunner Caleb Daniels lost his best friend and seven other members of his unit when a Chinook helicopter — one he was meant to be on — crashed in Afghanistan.
The 2005 tragedy haunted him when he returned to his home in Savannah, Ga. At night, a tall, shadowy figure crept into his room. Sometimes the Black Thing would threaten to kill him; other times it would choke his dead best friend.
The dark figure, a ‘Destroyer demon,’ punished him, he said, ‘for killing and for living.’
Rev. William Halloran
I have not read the book, but I think it’s a good sign if some are beginning to see that PTSD is both a spiritual and a psychological problem. Pumping veterans full of drugs will probably not be enough to heal them. This calls to mind William Halloran, who was the Jesuit Catholic priest who, at the age of twenty-six, assisted in the exorcism of the young Roland Doe; this was the case that inspired William Peter Blatty to write his novel The Exorcist. Halloran later became a paratrooper chaplain in Vietnam during the war. He said that he saw more evil in Vietnam than he ever did in Roland Doe’s bed. And let’s not reduce this to the tired statement “War is hell.” War is worse.