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News Link • Military Industrial Complex

Influx of ads for military weapons throwing commuters for loop

• Paul Farhi
[For pictures and more detail, see westbrook100410.htm]
In the market for a shiny new combat ship? If so, you might be interested in the ads appearing in Metro stations around Washington. "The shape of littoral dominance has a familiar look," Lockheed Martin says over a photo of a sleek naval vessel cutting the waves.

Or how about a nice attack helicopter? Boeing may have just the thing. In a full-page ad in the Hill newspaper, it brags that its AH-64D Apache "is the most powerful and effective combat helicopter in the world."

Tanker planes, light tactical vehicles, jet fighters -- you won't see this kind of hardware advertised in Kansas City or Cleveland, or in Moscow or Beijing. Only in Washington are multibillion-dollar war machines marketed like soft drinks and cellphones. These days, the products of the military-industrial complex are appearing in can't-miss-'em ads in The Washington Post, in Capitol Hill publications such as Roll Call and the Hill, on posters and billboards in Metro stations and even on local radio.

The ads are seen by many but are intended for just a few. With two of the largest defense contracts ever on the verge of being decided, the targets are the several hundred -- and in some cases, several dozen -- people who determine how billions of federal defense dollars will be spent. That means people in Congress, the White House and the Pentagon, as well as a fringe of "influencers" working in think tanks, trade organizations and the media.

Everyone else just seems mystified.


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