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Occupied, D.C.

In These Times - As a visitor to our nation’s capital, it’s disconcerting to step off a Metro train and find yourself face-to-face with an F-35 fighter jet. Washington D.C.’s subway system, the second busiest in the country, hosts full-color backlit billboards for some of the most deadly—and expensive—weapons systems ever produced.

The ads for Lockheed Martin (the world’s largest arms merchant), Goodrich, KBR, AGI, BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman adorn Metro stations throughout the D.C. metropolitan area. But not surprisingly, the ads are most heavily concentrated at Pentagon City and near government offices at the Federal Center and Capitol South stations. The ads clearly aim to influence key decision-makers, but they also sell to the public the concept that only superior military prowess can protect us from a hostile world.

The billboards range from explicit ads for attack helicopters and combat vehicles to more subtle ads for companies like little-known DRS, owned by Italian weapons maker Finmeccanica and ranked 26 among the top 100 Pentagon contractors. Some are for Dell, which sells “rugged” computers designed to meet Defense Department specifications for military use. Read more.

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