Moral Low Ground

Society

Outrage over Idaho Billboard Comparing Obama to Aurora Shooter James Holmes

A Libertarian group in Idaho has sparked outrage by renting a billboard that compares President Barack Obama to  Aurora, Colorado massacre suspect James Holmes.

The advertisement shows two photos side by side; one of Holmes and the other of Obama.

“Kills 12 in a movie theater with assault riffle, everyone freaks out,” the caption below Holme’s photo reads.

“Kills thousands with foreign policy, wins Nobel Peace Prize,” it says under Obama’s image.

KBOI reports that the Caldwell, Idaho ad was paid for by the Ralph Smeed Foundation, a libertarian organization whose stated mission is to “promote the principles of political, economic and religious liberty and expose the fallacies of fascism, socialism, communism, Nazism, totalitarianism and statism in a non-partisan and scholarly manner.”

Many are outraged by the provocative billboard.

“This billboard is offensive to all those lives lost and affected by the shooting,” one person commented on KBOI’s Facebook page. “Just pathetic, even if this is their expression of the 1st amendment.”

Another commenter called the ad “insulting, ridiculous and just plain inaccurate.”

But while the billboard may be insensitive and offensive to many, what is says about thousands of deaths being caused by Obama’s foreign policy is, if anything, an understatement.

“We’re all outraged over that killing in Aurora, Colo., but we’re not outraged over the boys killed in Afghanistan,” Maurice Clements, executor of Smeed’s estate, told the Idaho Statesman. 

One assumes Clements is referring only to the US troops killed in Afghanistan, not the tens of thousands of innocent men, women, children, babies and the elderly who have fallen victim to American bombs and bullets over the last decade. Hundreds of those civilians, and hundreds more in Pakistan, have been killed under Obama’s watch. Worse, the Obama administration has embraced a deceptive method of counting civilian deaths, by which all military-aged males in a strike zone are considered enemy combatants.

It gets even worse. The president has lied about the number of innocent people killed by the drone strikes he’s approved, falsely declaring that “drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties.” But according to the London-based Bureau for Investigative Journalism, Obama’s drone strikes have killed between 400 and 800 civilians, including at least 175 children. Drone strikes have even targeted rescue workers and funerals.

An argument can even be made that the Obama administration bears responsibility for the thousands of people killed each year by US economic and trade policies. The imposition and enforcement of high drug prices abroad make life-saving medicines prohibitively expensive for desperately poor people in the developing world, all so that pharmaceutical corporations can reap massive profits.  Agricultural subsidies, mostly to corporations, and ‘globalization’ ruin poor farmers in Africa and Asia– some 200,000 Indian farmers have killed themselves over the past 15 years.

Many may find the Idaho billboard shocking, even tasteless. But its message is undeniably true.

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