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Thoughts on Mark Twain's 'The War Prayer'


By dlindorff - Posted on 13 December 2011

 

By David Lindorff Sr.

 

At the beginning of the twentieth century the United States was engaged in a long and brutal war of aggression against the Philippines, which led to between 200,000 and 1.5 million civilian deaths. It was a colonial war against independence fought by the US with patriotic zeal and of course, the claim that God was on our side.  To be against the war in that jingoistic era was considered tantamount to treason.  Hence it was a brazen act of effrontery for author Mark Twain to have made a statement denouncing the acts of brutality that accompanied this war.  In his short story, The War Prayer, he portrayed a priest who, with  fervor, called upon God to bring victory to a supposedly just cause,  irrespective of the horror inflicted on the "enemy," a poor and downtrodden people trying only to assert their freedom after centuries of colonial oppression.

 

Following an invocation from the Old-Testament and an enormous blast from the orgen “that shook the house,” the priest closed with,

                       

“Bless our arms,

grant us the victory,

O Lord our God,          

Father and Protector

of  our land and flag.

           

It was then that attention shifted to an old man walking slowly down the aisle...

 

For the rest of this article by DAVID LINDORFF, Sr., please go ThisCantBeHappening!, the new Project Censored Award-winning independent online alternative newspaper, at: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/954

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