The post I reblogged reminds me of one of the most thought provoking  — if overlooked — works of Mark Twain.


The first time I heard of The War Prayer was in a film adaptation of Twain’s The Private History of a Campaign that Failed.  “The War Prayer” is dramatized as an epilogue to that story. This the YouTube version: 

I chose “The War Prayer” to read at an interfaith service when I was at college.  This was in 1991 when pro-war preaching both religious and civil was still very common in the aftermath of the Gulf War.

“The War Prayer” remains relevant to this day.

Millard Fillmore's Bathtub

(Updating dead links, especially from the late and lamented (here at least) VodPod, I found myself back in 2008, with this post on Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer.”  Fortunately, I found the film migrated to YouTube, though split in two parts.  Some information that should have caught our attention in 2008 deserves noting now, and we can update and add new links.)

It’s largely forgotten now, especially in history texts in high schools.  After the Spanish-American War, when the U.S. wrested several territories from Spain, including Guam, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, the U.S. quickly got mired in one of the original guerrilla wars in the Philippines.  It took 15 years, but the U.S. finally put down the rebellion — 15 brutal, bloody years.  The conduct of that war shocked many people, including Mark Twain.

This piece was written partly in response to that war.


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