Operation Desert Sales

U.S. weapons makers storm Dubai ’97, the Middle East’s biggest air show

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We like to think of arms dealers as hirsute gents in Hugo Boss suits, arguing gutturally into cell phones in Tripoli, Vladivostok, or Islamabad.

Think again. If the Star-Wars-studded exhibitor roster of Dubai Air Show ’97 is any indication, international arms dealing is right at home in Peoria. The Middle East’s biggest air show — Webcast daily for your enjoyment — opened Sunday with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon leading a host of American aerospace firms displaying their hardware, escorted by entourages from the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Defense. Rounding out the roster are household names like Toyota, Rolls Royce, and Saab.

As Saddam Hussein rattles the neighborhood, this year’s show has an especially martial flavor — nearly half the exhibitors are military. The goodies list is juicy — the U.S.’s coveted F-16 jet fighter and Apache attack helicopter are featured prominently — and the market is even juicier: Global military spending last year alone approached an estimated US$1 trillion, with the U.S. and Russia controlling most of the market. Show promoters report that U.S. exhibitors’ presence is up 30 percent this year over Dubai ’95.

And what better place to shop than the United Arab Emirates, where laws governing arms dealing are scarcer than women in public office? Plus, Dubai ’97 will be held right in Dubai International Airport, so you won’t miss that flight to Baghdad — or Seattle.

Got time to kill after your shopping’s done? Catch the Talk of the Town at Dubai’s Chamber of Commerce Web site.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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