“The War Prayer” by Mark Twain
“O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them – in spirit – we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
With the recent “passing,” if only it were so, of Veteran’s Day, there is a lot to reflect upon about the evil horrors of war. More telling, is the reverence still afforded those who prosecute wars of aggression for the fascist corporate state apparatus that is the United States government, its military, its big financial system, and its war profiteering corporate sponsors. Don’t worry however, because the flags of the nation state are flying, the glory of war propaganda is rampant, and God is on our side!
Most of those, and there are few, who truly oppose war and all the carnage and destruction it brings, tend to concentrate the blame from the top down. I am guilty of this myself, but it is time to set the record straight. Yes, the cowardly president and his minions in Congress, as well as those generals who run wars, do start and prosecute these wars of aggression, but could they accomplish their unholy killing sprees in other countries without the support, whether active or implied, of those citizens who support war and those soldiers who do the actual contract killing? Of course not.
It is easy to blame Bush, Obama and all the other scum that foment and start wars, but how could any war happen if the soldiers did not show up? How could politicians gain support for their wars if the people refused to allow it? How could those same politicians who continue to promote and prosecute war stay in office if no one voted for them, or better yet, did not vote at all. As I have always said, if no one voted, then no one would be elected.
It seems so simple, and in theory it certainly is, because at any time, all U.S. wars and occupations could be ended immediately if the people simply stopped supporting these evil acts. If the soldiers refused to fight and kill others on orders, no war could go forward, and the military industrial complex would crumble into bankruptcy. What a wonderful world that would be.
But in most circles, it is blasphemy to condemn or even ignore the soldier or veteran in this country today. In fact, it is considered blasphemy in most places to not openly show respect and support for any active or inactive person in the military. If ten thousand people, or many more, are gathered together at a sporting event, and are told to stand with their hat off and their hand over their hearts for a national anthem that is nothing but a salute to the state and its killers, it is likely that all will immediately do as instructed, and without question. Even if a few do not feel right in that false worship, they generally will stand at attention anyway for fear of being exposed as a non-believer. It is certainly a pathetic display of a serf-like society steeped in a brainwashed and blind worship of the god that is the state.
But never fear because God is on our side! Apparently he is not on the side of any others on earth, including all those innocent children being slaughtered by the U.S. empire, unless the country they happened to be born in is now aligned with America. Germany under Hitler was once the murderer of millions, and according to U.S. doctrine, God was not on their side. Now it is an ally of the U.S., so God, according to the political gospel, has changed his mind, and is now also on their side. One is never to ask questions when God is on their side.
If God was really on our side, as Bob Dylan sang about so long ago, then all wars would end, and all the senseless killing would cease!