Moral Low Ground

US Government

‘The Moral High Ground’: Utah Anti-War Group Sparks Controversy– and Curiosity– with ‘Bomb Iran’ Billboard

When I read that a small group of Utah anti-war activists had posted a billboard reading “BOMB IRAN,” I couldn’t help but remember then-GOP presidential candidate John McCain singing those words— “bomb Iran”– to the tune of the Beach Boys classic “Barbara Ann” at a campaign event in 2007 to a guffawing audience of “support-the-troops” types. Of course, the billboard erected in West Valley City by Connor Boyack and his group is meant to send a very different message, although you’d have to take a closer look at their ad to understand that.

(Photo: The Raw Story)

The seeming ambiguity is apparently intentional.

“There has been some criticism that the design is confusing, and that was intentional,” Boyack told The Raw Story. “First of all, it’s a difficult message to pack into a billboard, and we wanted to do it in a way that would cause people to think. We wanted people to be confused, to be curious, and to go to the website to find some resources that might persuade them away from that bias and toward peace. So the confusion is intentional and works in our favor for those who are open to changing their minds.”

Boyack told The Raw Story that his group put up the sign because all the Republican presidential candidates, save for the eminently reasonable Ron Paul, seem to be in a rush to wage war on Iran, a country that hasn’t started a war against its neighbors since the early 1700s and which even U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta admits is not trying to develop nuclear weapons.

“The war drums are beating loudly,” Boyack told The Raw Story. “Sanctions are being supported, war is being threatened, and the nation seems primed for yet another middle eastern war. Our group objects to this and sees the same pattern that happened with the build up to the war in Iraq.”

“This war would be immoral, offensive, unnecessary, and besides, we simply can’t afford it,” he added.

Many– I dare say most– Americans are unaware of the truth about the history of U.S.-Iranian relations and how aggression and antagonism between the two countries has been an overwhelmingly one-sided affair– that is, the U.S. menacing Iran and not the other way around. For most Americans, U.S.-Iranian history starts with the 1979 hostage crises, which in reality was a predictable reaction to half a century of Washington-supported repression. Boyack’s billboard is a refreshing reminder that we’re not getting the whole story and that we need to recognize propaganda when it is used against us by our (mis)leaders. “Support the troops” doesn’t mean sending them off to fight another unnecessary and unaffordable war of choice. That would be supporting the military-industrial complex, whose allegiance is not to our nation or our troops but rather to its bottom line. Of course conflict is in the best interests of the war profiteers. But it is not in our nation’s best interests, and it certainly will mean only death and destruction to the long-suffering people of Iran.

So far, the reaction to Boyack’s billboard has reportedly been mostly positive. The Raw Story reports that the anti-war group’s website, BombIran.org, has received over 15,000 hits since the sign went up. It will remain up for a month, or possibly longer if donations continue at their current pace. So far, the group has raised $2,839.

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