When you saw The Wizard of Oz for the first time, were you, too, terrified by the flying monkeys? I think the sight of them triggered something deep in the collective imagination. It was these creatures that came to mind, with horrible absurdity, when I was imagining what the children must be feeling, in villages far away, when they hear the drones.
In its current manifestation, the evil monkey archetype does not wear a fetching little fez. It has no face at all. The drones are utterly impersonal. And they have been flying under the radar in more ways than one.
But they are inching their way into American discourse; notably since Mars (warfare) crossed the Moon (the public) of the US (Sibly) chart, ingressed into Pisces and then met up with Chiron (wounds) while T-squaring the US Uranus (democratic impulses)/ horizon axis between late January and mid-February.
Until now, Obama’s authority to commit unaccountable, extrajudicial assassination has been backed up by a mysterious legality no one could inspect or confirm, because it was classified. (Never mind that the White House had no qualms about declassifying the memos about Bush’s torture policies. That atrocity belonged to the last guy.) Then Mars started poking and prodding around, and now we’re hearing on the news about the official policy that justifies the drones. Drafted by federal lawyers, it spells out the protocol, such as it is, for Obama’s “kill list”. It’s now official: The human targets get no due process, no court trial, no even charges. And the program has virtually no oversight.
How is this situation to be judged? By what moral compass do we assess it? The astrological answer lies with Jupiter (law, ethics), a planet whose domain is both societal and personal. With our entry into the Age of Jupiter, we have left behind the planet’s purely passive expression. We are being challenged to take individual responsibility for what we believe; the work of cobbling together an ethical foundation belongs to each one of us (see January’s Skywatch). That finger of god in the epoch-defining solstice chart suggests that cultivating a sense of morality is part of the work of becoming human.
Time was, when your prophet, shaman or priest came up with the answers for you. They told you what was right and what was wrong. These days, many of us are still trying to get off the hook, by adopting the party line of one or another political affiliation. There are Americans who, although they consider themselves anti-war, accepted with a shrug Obama’s escalation of the war in Afghanistan, because, well, he’s our man: he’s on the right team and he said the right things.
As long as we keep allowing the ruling duopoly to frame the narrative for us, it’s enough that Candidate X is superior to Candidate Y. It’s enough to hear humanitarian-sounding promises in well-cadenced speeches, such as in Obama’s Inaugural Address when he claimed to be against “perpetual war”.
This, from the guy who initiated, on our watch, undeclared wars in Pakistan, Yeman, Somalia and Libya.
These are countries where the sky can spit a missile at you while you’re having a picnic. The total number of air strikes Obama has collectively green lighted, according to investigative journalist David Sirota, is twenty thousand. One in five people who die in these strikes is said to be a civilian.
But we know that estimate is low, because of a shrewd linguistic trick Obama’s men have retained from the folks who invaded Iraq: that of counting all military-age males in a strike zone as “combatants.” An oddly quaint word, in this repurposing it serves to green light the murder of all young males because they could, theoretically, be enemies.1
Many Obama supporters also seem to be swayed by that fatuous all-purpose apologia, “national security.” If so, they are ignoring what studies by this very administration have conclusively found: that there is a predictable blowback effect whereby the drone strikes result in “heightened anger towards the USA and sympathy with al Qaeda among local populations.”
Duh, right? Surely any thinking person would come to the same conclusion without a formal study. If we were living through our charts, we would get there with Mercurial common sense, which is the basis for Jupiterian moral sense.We were each born under those planets; they reside somewhere in every one of our charts. We don’t need church dogma or political rhetoric to know right from wrong. We knew, when we were mere babes, that filling the sky with evil things was terribly wrong.
1 It entered the political lexicon around the same time as those comic-book coinages dreamed up by some Pentagon branding genius for the invasions of Iraq: “Desert Storm” and “Operation Iraqi Liberation,” (which of course had to be scrapped when somebody realized that its acronym, OIL, gave the game away).
2 Per a new analysis by the Council on Foreign Relations citing the concurrent increase in drone strikes and “terrorists” in Yemen.
This is so stressful to read and know! I want to be glad that Obama is in (barring a God-forbid mishap) for the next four years. Now I will have to mention the fraudulent civilian death count and the whole shameful business instead of simply pressing “like” on his facebook postings. Thanks for your unwaivering stand for moral justice against seemingly impossible odds. As technology evolves sadly life gets ever more complicated! Can you imagine if Lincoln had had to deal with the possibility of drones on top of all the other horrors of that war! And how can any administration think that the technology being used now won’t someday be turned on Americans having picnics?