Since last week, a billboard has been up alongside I-215 in West Valley City that reads “Bomb Iran” in large red letters. But if you think this is a message provided and paid for by pro-war hawks, you should look closer.
Above the large message, another line reads “Support the troops” with the word “troops” crossed out and replaced with “military industrial complex” a satirical jab at the power of war profiteers who benefit from the United States’ overseas conflicts. The billboard is turning heads, much more than a straightforward anti-war message ever would, says Connor Boyack, a local author who, along with D.J. Schanz, a local conservative activist, helped raise funds to put the billboard up.
“We didn’t want it to be an anti-war billboard that Utah conservatives would not think twice about and would just discredit as some liberal project,” Boyack says. That’s why he says the billboard was designed to shock, and also intrigue, viewers to check out the billboard’s Website www.BombIran.org. The site simply talks about the harm of overseas military campaigns. Boyack, who helped start the conservative group the Tenth Amendment Center and who wrote a book, Latter-day Liberty, discussing the compatibility of the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Libertarian politics, says the timing is right for the billboard as a growing cross-section of Americans of all political persuasions are growing weary of costly military operations and occupations.
“That’s why we’re seeing a major exodus from both major political parties,” Boyack says. "People got sick of the lawlessness under Bush and were expecting Obama to be this great anti-war, civil rights leader, but three years later and he has been anything but,” he says, speaking of Obama’s involvement in military operations in Libya, as well as the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 that gave the president expanded war-power authority.
Now, Boyack says the war rhetoric is heating up for a conflict with Iran and he hopes the Website can get people thinking about finding peaceful solutions that won't add billions to the national debt and lead to the loss of countless lives.
“From my perspective, this is a message that is resonating across ideological lines,” Boyack says.
Currently, Boyack says an informal group raised money for the billboard to stay up for a month, and if people want, they can donate from the Website to keep the billboard up longer.