To sell a gun...

After watching Iron Man for like 8 times the past few months, the movie got me thinking: HOW DOES ONE ADVERTISE FIREARMS?

OK, I might think and sound like a nerd some times, but frankly, most of the time I'm a geek. Moving on swiftly, the basis of the question came out of watching movies like 'Thank You for Smoking' and 'Lord of War', which underline one issue: HOW DOES ONE SELL GOODS THAT PROMOTE DEATH?

In the TYfS, despite stringent regulations limiting cigarette ads on all media plains, the MODs (Merchant Of Death) are able to negotiate tie-ins with prominent people from various industries and at the end of the day, an inherent message that tells us to smoke is out somewhere, waiting to lure the weak and the healthy. As for LoW, Cage's character depended on revenue from his underground connections, who seem to know so much about guns without the means of attaining information about one. Hmmm.

Then, the Iron Man movie brought up an issue co-relating wars and advertising for firearms. In the scene where Tony Stark presented a new missile 'that you only have to fire once' before launching it at a nearby mountain range, reducing it to a pile dust (without first considering any inhabitants within the proximity. Very American.) , a neurotransmitter in one of my lobes sparked and a question popped up - How does one advertise firearms?

Well, WAR of course!

For instance, the recent Iraq bombardment: news reporters stationed at the outskirts of Baghdad, waiting to capture the impending US attack without a hint of fear who being killed. Why? Maybe its a well planned marketing strategy or guerilla advertising or what not. The spectacle of Baghdad's destruction and the sheer firepower, accuracy and might of the US Army's latest firearms in every news headline around the world seemed too good an advertising and PR initiative for a country that controls 69% of firearms production in the world.

Unfortunately, things turned for the worst in Iraq, dismantling Iraq's status quo under Saddam and the capture of the alleged tyrant wasn't enough bring about peace, as the US assumed. Yet, the apparent war in Iraq dragged on, taking more lives than any tyrant or leader that has ever graced the land formerly known as Babylon. Oh, I forgot, what was the US mission again? Was it to find weapons of mass destruction, to assasinate a tyrant or to find oil? If its not accomplished, did it fail? No wait, I can't say that yet since the US Army is still fighting there even if they have no direction and purpose. OK, then what is the mission NOW?

Previous US war campaigns weren't spelt out in full either. After WWII, firearm production companies were left in a lurch; left-over guns, bombs and bullets piled in heaps waiting to rust. So, the government, unable to re-pay the companies, financed wars instead to establish the US as the 'world's peacekeeper', 'force of democracy' and what not to encourage others to fight for the same cause, thus, creating new customers. Just name me a post-WWII US president without a war in his CV or anything close to a war lah.

The ad campaign theory also explains the reason behind the post-WWII wars and proxy-wars

1) 50's Korean War (wtf for again?)

2) 60's Bay of Pigs (almost a) War (The Cuban Missile Crisis - didn't pull a trigger but sight of US Destroyers parked at the porch of Cuba is a good ad!)

3) 70's Vietnam War (other than the Vietnamese tactics, pre-war research and survey probably lost the war of the US but hey, new product - Napalm bomb!

4) 80's US providing firearms mercenaries in South America

5) 90's The Gulf War (re-use of WWII left-overs and 40 tanks trundling across the desert and kicking-up dust is a cool ad!)

6) 00's War on Terrorism (OK. This is the confusing one since US have surpassed the killings of their alledged terrorists. Right now, the terrorists are just killing to live up to their name.)

7) 06's Lebonese War (Its just a soft way to take out Hezbollah's strong hold that is Lebanon. Everyday kidnappings and hostage situations happen in that part of Middle-East but flattening a country for just two kidnapped Israeli soldiers is a really bad excuse)

Right... now where was I? Dang, I lost my plot. Oh well, I've typed this much already anyway...

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