30 July 2006

From Mark Twain's War Prayer - The real message of war:

"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which you in your hearts -- fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. the *whole* of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory--*must* follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

"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.



Trial.Lawyer.Richard said...

What an incredibly appropriate post. Thanks for the War Poem, Jamie.


AlanBoss said...

Jamie, I posted the following on that other blog. If I may, I would like to post it here, as well.

I’m not going to start on the subject that I had originally intended. Not yet, anyway. I’ll get to it. Right now, I need to ruminate on a subject closer to home for me.

When I moved into my neighborhood five years ago, one of the first people I saw on the street was my next door neighbor. When I saw him, I told my wife, “That guy is either a cop or military.” I could tell by the way he carried himself, along with the “high and tight” and mustache. Once I got to know him, I learned that I was right. Career Army. A medium ranking officer who saw action in the first Gulf War. He’s about my age (late 40s). He has a beautiful wife and two children, a daughter 12, son 15. A good guy. The sort that will come over and lend a hand with a repair or project if he sees you struggling with it.

For the first couple of years, I made a point of avoiding discussing politics with him. Then one day in ‘03 I ran into him out front. It was the day we invaded Iraq. He asked me what I thought about the situation. I gave him my straight and honest opinion. I told him that I didn’t like it one bit. I thought that the rational we were being given was a load of horse sh*t and I was very afraid of the consequences. But, I said, now that we are there, we had damn well finish the job.

He looked around like he was checking for eavesdroppers, lowered his voice and said, “He’s my boss and I’m not allowed to criticize. But these guys, the Bush family, Cheney, Rumsfeld.... they’re like the Mafia. Their only interest is financial gain for their companies and cronies. And they don’t give a rat’s a$$ about our troops or the middle east. The bigger the mess they make, the more money they stand to make. And it won’t be over in six weeks or months like Rumsfeld is saying. It’s going to snowball and go on for years.” (I put that in quotation marks. My memory may not be absolutely accurate. But it’s close enough to merit quotes.) He went on to tell me that he was five years from retiring with three quarter’s benefits. He planned to cross his fingers and stick it out for those years, then “get the hell out of there before they start WW III.” (That is a direct quote.)

Today, I shook his hand and told him to be careful out there. Tomorrow morning, he will kiss his wife and kids goodbye and head out to Ft. Bragg. From there, Bagdad. If all goes well, he will be gone for 15 months. But then, that’s what the soldiers out there that thought they were going home this week thought when they shipped out.

That’s all I have to say tonight.

Jamie said...


I am so sorry your neighbor is going to Iraq. It is hard when any go, but hardest when it is someone you know. The funny thing is that the Army forced my son out after 20 years because they didn't need soldiers at the time. They came back wanting him to return at the beginning of this mess. He told them to take a hike.

He was in Gulf War I and had no problem with that, but so many in the military now would have supported Afghanistan, but think this mess we've turned loose in the Middle East is criminal. As I told someone the other day, Bush shouldn't be impeached. As Commander in Chief, he should be court martialled and jailed.

9/11 survivor (sort of) said...


Escape pod to download free -- no wishlist required. (Links for Acts 1/2 and 3/4 after the cast list.)

Mozart- Le Nozze Di Figaro - Premiere (July 26, 2006):


Il Conte Almaviva: Bo Skovhus
La Contessa Almaviva: Dorothea Röschmann
Susanna: Anna Netrebko
Figaro: Ildebrando D`Arcangelo
Cherubino: Christine Schäfer
Marcellina:Marie McLaughlin
Bartolo: Franz-Josef Selig
Basilio: Patrick Henckens
Don Curzio: Oliver Ringelhahn
Antonio: Florian Boesch
Barbarina: Eva Liebau

Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Wiener Philharmoniker
Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor