In 1904, disgusted by the aftermath of the
Spanish-American War and the subsequent Philippine-American War, Mark
Twain wrote a short anti-war prose poem called "The War Prayer." His
family begged him not to publish it, his friends advised him to bury it,
and his publisher rejected it, thinking it too inflammatory for the
times. Twain agreed, but instructed that it be published after his
death, saying famously:
None but the dead are permitted to tell the truth.
"The War Prayer" was eventually published after World War I, when its
message was more in tune with the times. Now, Washington Monthly's
publisher, Markos Kounalakis, who was affected by Twain's words when he
covered the war in Yugoslavia in the early 90s, has made "The War
Prayer" into a short video for release this Memorial Day weekend. It
features stunning illustrations by Akis Dimitrakopoulos and is narrated
by Peter Coyote, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Erik Bauersfeld.