A Prayer for A New World

I've got every finger and toe on my body crossed, and my eyes too, in the hope that the jubilation of the Iraqis at the U.S. conquest of central Baghdad yesterday (April 9) will prove to be continuing, the war will be over forthwith, and the world can return to efforts at diplomacy, at least for while.

May God receive with kindness and mercy the soldiers from all services we have lost, and the civilians of all and any nations and religions who have been killed. May all the wounded recover soon. May humanitarian aid reach all those who need it forthwith.

I confess to a heady lightening of mood even before we can be sure of things. I have been almost savagely pessimistic about our situation lately. But it is certainly looking as if the huge gamble of sending few and fast troops and, of course, massive air support, into the Iraq engagement is proving the military and civilian scoffers wrong. Rumsfeld may have assured himself a place in the history books at that. Leave it to history to determine what that place will be.

Whether those of us who have argued that this move against Islam is the Pandora's box to end all Pandora's boxes will soon look utterly foolish or utterly wise, frankly doesn't matter a damn if at least the guns will be stilled.

While diplomacy continues, there is always hope people will snap out of the trance and see that war is always destructive and never produces anything but more problems on top of the ones the war was supposed to relieve.

We await developments; but let them come, so long as the guns are silent. Since the only growth industry the U.S. presently has is the munitions business, the "niche" that we so emphatically dominate, we are at grave risk of continuing to pursue profits down this alley with who knows what new threats to peace.

But let all that be as it will be. I may be premature, but let me be among the first to hang out flags, say thanks to our generals, who have clearly mastered blitzkrieg, and to their marvelously effective troops – my neighbors sons and daughters and yours – and pray, above all, that reason will return to the world at least for a while.

I say this in the name of the Prince of Peace; in whose honor I wish to close with a Bible quotation, one Handel set to glorious music in The Messiah:

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his names shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

April 10, 2003