There is no more apt expression of protest than a mock-prayer, no more apt protester than a West Point graduate, and no one more equipped to protest humanely than the rare physician who takes seriously his Hippocratic Oath. Gordon S. Livingston brings all of these elements together--first in a "prayer," then an explanation of it, and finally some observations on trying to be a healer in a situation of anti-healing.
Gordon S. Livingston, M.D.
(Composed by Dr. Livingston and distributed by him at ceremonies for Colonel George S. Patton III)
God, our heavenly Father, hear our prayer. We acknowledge our shortcomings and ask thy help in being better soldiers for thee. Grant us, O Lord, those things we need to do thy work more effectively. Give us this day a gun that will fire 10,000 rounds a second, a napalm which will burn for a week. Help us to bring death and destruction wherever we go, for we do it in thy name and therefore it is meet and just. We thank thee for this war fully mindful that while it is not the best of all wars, it is better than no war at all. We remember that Christ said, "I came not to send peace, but a sword," and we pledge ourselves on all our works to be like Him. Forget not the least of thy children as they hide from us in the jungles; bring them under our merciful hand that we may end their suffering. In all things, O God, assist us, for we do our noble work in the knowledge that only with thy help can we avoid the catastrophe of peace which threatens us ever. All of which we ask in the name of thy son, George Patton. Amen.
Public disaffection with the war in Vietnam is now general, and as a result the American agony there may be near an end.