Blind Eye

"Please Sir come down from there! No picture! No picture!"

Well what the heck did these guys think would happen? Next time they should consider these things first: If you park a motorized howitzer in the middle of the sidewalk in a busy city during morning rush hour, leave it unattended with the hatches open, and place a short run of portable steps next to it, what do you think will happen? People will walk up those steps and get a look-see.

Their surprise and paranoia was inexplicable. We are going to park a 20-ton K1A1 main battle tank in the middle of your street. Please do not look very closely.

That is, don't look at it unless we think we want you to look at it. The howitzer, the tank (the bottom of the table of specifications reads: "Hunter/Killer... Yes"), the motorized bridge section, the armored retrieval vehicle... all parked on the sidewalk and every one of them... for sale, today through Wednesday, a "show special price" no doubt, just during Defense Asia Week 2003. Preferably a large sale, volume pricing appropriate for one or two divisions.

No stickers on the windows, but a placard of specs in front of each, and decorated with large, festively-colored balloons to complete the used-car-lot theme. The black-suited salesmen are looking anxious as I step down. Who is this American guy, part of some industrial group, a customer, or a competitor?

"Please sir, no pictures." Yeah, whatever.

When I pass by again, three hours later, the suits from the hunter/killer marketing department have been reinforced with armed guards, wearing impressive brocades and polished helmets emblazoned with their section name. The helmets on some guards seem to be riding low — the guards are obviously still in their teens. Their faces display the typical teenaged disaffected ennui as they pace idly back and forth.

Suddenly I remember the Vietnamese VIPs from yesterday — ah, it's starting to make sense.

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