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A recent Yahoo News article discussed Hillary Clinton’s South Carolina primary campaign. She “[focused] on issues with particular resonance in the black community, including gun violence, and had an emotional event with black mothers, whose children died in shootings…. She campaigned with African-American mothers whose children were killed by police or in incidents of gun violence.”

Hillary Gun Deaths

Hillary and Gun Deaths John Marciano

The utter hypocrisy of Clinton’s opportunistic political appeal is revealed by her support of US weapon sales abroad, and wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, and Yemen that have left millions of people of color dead, maimed, and refugees—many of them children. Have we heard any words of remorse from Clinton about the mothers in those countries who have watched their children die and suffer?

I’ll believe Clinton is sincere about domestic gun deaths and gun control when she shows the same concern for children in the Middle East and Asia who have been massacred by the weapons that she, as Senator and Secretary of State, helped fund and export to murderous regimes.

Her sickening and false sympathy to gain votes in South Carolina is akin to public comments by President Obama on the numbers of US gun deaths. During one public appearance, Obama “grew emotional ... as he made a passionate call for a national ‘sense of urgency’ to limit gun violence. He was introduced by Mark Barden, whose son, Daniel, was killed in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Obama circled back to that shooting in the final moments of his speech. ‘Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad,’ Obama said, pausing to wipe away tears.” (CNN, Jan. 5)

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The countless massacres of children in the United States should move Obama to anger and tears on this issue. However, will we ever get an international sense of urgency on gun control from the president, who is the greatest arms dealer in the world, or Clinton, who supports Washington’s weapons exports? As Democracy Now reported in April 2015, most of the “weapons exports under Obama have gone to the Middle East and Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia tops the list at $46 billion in new agreements.” The brutal and undemocratic Saudi regime now bombing and killing Yemeni children obtains billions in advanced weapons from a president who gets teary-eyed about the massacre of children here at home—the same Saudi regime that has funneled millions to the Clinton Foundation.

William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, points out that “even after adjusting for inflation, the volume of major deals concluded by the Obama administration in its first five years exceeds the amount approved by the Bush administration in its full eight years in office by nearly $30 billion…. [The] Obama administration has approved more arms sales than any U.S. administration since World War II” (Democracy Now, April 2015). As Senator and then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton supported these arms sales and aggressive wars that have ended the lives of hundreds of thousands of children, leaving their parents with unimaginable grief.

Americans should be outraged and anguished by the massacres at Sandy Hook and other schools. We must also be outraged, however, by the deaths and injuries suffered by massive numbers of children in armed conflicts that utilize weapons that the US has sold abroad. I’ll believe Clinton is sincere about domestic gun deaths and gun control when she shows the same concern for children in the Middle East and Asia who have been massacred by the weapons that she, as Senator and Secretary of State, helped fund and export to murderous regimes.

john marciano

John Marciano