Collateral Cannibals

Tarot after a thorough bowdlerizing and whistling past all the graveyards you can imagine now really registers with the eternal infantile set. So do the wars on the poor (or Terror or whatever). Ten of Swords, by Lisa Sterle.
For many years now, there has been a culture war in Tarot that somewhat reflects the greater culture war in the macrocosm, or The World. At the heart and mind of this war is a dispute over truth, the nature of it, and the possibility of it. Most people who come to Tarot as some kind of remedy are not interested in being told there are sharp edges of fact and truth to know and to respect. That idea sounds like what they are trying to escape—the world of obligation and requirement. What they want is the mystery which offers the prospect, if not the outright promise, of liberation and refuge from—bluntly, having to die.

Because our economic system rewards those who can deliver what the people want (in this case, to hear), it has been recognized for some time that while Tarot has always had a cachet of mystery, it has also had the burden of being dark and intimidating. It has, for example, some ugly and scary elements. Of course, again talking about people evading obligation, those elements are most unwelcome in what is hoped to be a respite from harsh reality.

The classic example of how the Tarot industry has responded to this problem of perception, is the way the Death card has been changed into something almost warm and fuzzy. The story of this process and of some recent unfortunate consequences of it is told here.

Now, I have raised these issues a number of times when talking about current events, and particularly the war (officially The Eternal War on the Poor), because if Tarot is to have any relevance as a tool or agent of insight, it must provide this service—truthfully—in the worst of times. In the best of times, who really cares if it does or not?

So, regardless of whether or not you believe that Tarot has the power to be read insightfully or to enable divination, you may agree that the nature of its cultural discord over truth can instruct us about similar issues confronting us in our increasingly martial reality.

Case in point: The United States launched a missile strike a few days ago on a village in Pakistan. The goal of this attack was allegedly to kill "terrorists", most especially the #2 man of Qaeda, Ayman "Party Animal" al-Zawahiri. Whether or not any terrorists were actually killed in the attack is in dispute. While reports today say four or five terrorists were killed, these reports are based upon Pakistani government statements that admit there is no actual evidence to support the claim, since they admit "militants had carted off the bodies of the foreigners before authorities arrived at the scene of the attack." How therefore they know there were any bodies carted off, or whose bodies they were, they do not say.

What we do know is that villagers denied there were any Qaeda or Taliban in the village at the time of the attack, and that the Pakistani government has confirmed that 18 people, including women and children, none of whom are alleged to be terrorists, were killed in the attack. The United States is not of course at war with Pakistan, at least not officially. Nevertheless, the US thinks it has the unlimited right to murder as many innocent people as it wants in order to achieve its war objectives. Nothing distinguishes the US from Qaeda in that policy.

Question: Even if you say that this is war and killing babies—that is, eating them on a bun—is just one of its terrible, but oddly inconsequential costs, would you have that same collateral indifference if the US blew up babies in Pennsylvania instead of Pakistan? OTOH, since poor American kids particularly are gobbled up by the insanely indifferent economic, social and educational systems of the USA, I think we know the answer.

Isn't it somehow OK to see your government commit war crimes when the victims are rural ragheads instead of creatures you actually count as human beings?

Again, in an alleged democracy, if the leaders are monsters, the people are monsters too. If Bush is eating babies on a bun, and he certainly is, so are you.

Yet, aren't there many of you who think "better them than us"? And those babies that were ripped to pieces by the American terror bombs you payed for, you're OK with that, aren't you? After all, they aren't victims of a war crime, are they? They're just collateral damage.

How can you just sit there, excusing "you know, caring for the family, plus working" while your mug of blood runneth over?

But, you see, change the terms of endearment, change the channel for something more soothing, put more pickles and secret sauce on the bun, call Death just a transformation, and those cries of the hamburgered children will be nicely masked.