The War Prayer For The New Millennium

by Deck Deckert

October 21, 2002


As a tongue-tied moronic puppet drags us into a war of conquest, many people think of Mark Twain's War Prayer. It's been printed and reprinted, here and everywhere, because it is still so depressingly timely.

Timely, yes, but it needs a bit of tweaking to take into account methods of warfare that weren't available to the war lovers in the early 1900s when Twain penned his classic.

You all remember the setup: a church service that seeks to bring God's blessing on those going forth into battle. "Then came the 'long' prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an evermerciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory."

At this point, an aged stranger enters the church, nudges the preacher aside, proclaims that he comes "from the throne bearing a message from Almighty God" and begins his own prayer, one that incorporates the unvoiced part of the preacher's prayer. Here is an updated version for the new millennium.

The War Prayer, Revised

O Lord our Father, protect our noble leader from ill-advised cries that he must justify his demands of war, protect him from those who wish to restrict his wishes by appealing to ancient documents, who try to hinder him with demands that he consider the needs of others who aren't us.

O Lord, help us maintain our mighty economic sanctions, keeping from our enemies food and medicine for their sick and dying children.

As our young patriots -- sons of the poor and powerless, for the sons of the rich and powerful must never be exposed to such danger -- go forth to battle yet again be Thou near them!

With them in spirit we also go forth, O Lord, to smite this week's designated enemies from the sweet peace of our beloved TV with its beautiful and bloodless pictures of carnage, described to us by smiling and fawning lackeys who once were reporters.

O Lord Almighty, help us to tear their soldiers and their children to bloody shreds with our bombs dropped from 30,000 feet so that our airmen soldiers need never fear a bullet nor a blade, nor see what they have done.

Help us shatter their hospitals with our bombs, O Lord, so the shrieking wounded can find no solace. Help us destroy their water supplies so disease and death from polluted wells will be visited upon all of them. Help us scatter their land with depleted uranium to give them agonizing cancers, and help us fill their cities and fields with cluster bombs and mines that kill curious little children.

Help us use our mighty steel machines to bury alive their patriots as they futilely try to stem our advance with puny weapons; help us use our burrowing bombs to find the deep shelters and turn mothers sheltering infants into bloody pulp.

O Lord our God, help us plunder their oil to pay for the bombs that destroy them; help our military governors guide their destiny in ways that will always protect and serve us and our interests.

Help our leaders and our town criers keep the ugliness of what we do from our sight so that we never need waste our pity on those we afflict.

For our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast the hopes of our enemies, 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 everfaithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

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Related Internal Links

The War Prayer - by Mark Twain

Iraq on Swans


Deck Deckert has spent nearly two decades as copy editor, wire editor and news editor at several metropolitan newspapers, including the Miami Herald and Miami News, before becoming a freelance writer. His articles and stories on everything from alligator farming to UFOs have appeared in numerous U.S. publications. He has written two young adult novels under a pen name, and co-authored a novel about the NATO war on Yugoslavia, Letters from the Fire, with Alma Hromic.

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Essays published in 2002 | 2001


Published October 21, 2002
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