The Lufthansa VIP lounge at Frankfurt airport was jammed with passengers waiting to board the Frankfurt-Baghdad flight. They all seemed to know each other.
"Kraus, I haven't seen you since you were selling poison gas grenades to the Republican Guard."Kraus was grinning. "I never thought that we'd be going back so soon, Francois. What have you got in your bag?"
"Heavy water. Because of the coalition bombing, Iraq has a shortage, and we're the only people who can meet their specifications."
"Hey, McDonald. I didn't know the Americans want to rearm Iraq."
"Not officially, but no one said we couldn't sell M-1 tanks to Jordan, which are then transshipped to Baghdad via UPS."
A British salesman said, "See here, old boy. The British were given rights to supply Iraq with tanks. After all, we are the exclusive tank dealers for the Middle East."
A Russian added, "Ah, but your Chieftain tanks were lemons in the gulf war. The Iraqis will need the T-72 if they are going to violate another U.N. resolution."
The American said, "We're not interested in armored vehicles. We hope to sell the Iraqis some new long-range artillery so that they won't lose the next war overnight."
"Does the Pentagon know?"
"No, but the Department of Commerce does. The Iraqis are still a source of big bucks."
The French salesman said, "The money to be made in the arms business does not come from original sales but from reorders. We would like to replenish the entire Iraqi missile stockpile with Exocets."
A Chinese businessman took a long pipe out of his sample case. "Not after they see our new Silkworm missiles."
The German salesman intervened, "There is enough business for everybody. Even if the Germans get a contract to build a nuclear factory, we're willing to let someone else supply the delivery systems."
"We deserve a break," the Russian said. "We should have priority for all fighter plane sales because we need hard currency to buy riot equipment to stop Lithuania."
The Frenchman told him, "What makes you think you are a favored nation? Our Mirage jets are superior to your MiGs."
"Then why didn't your Mirages perform?"
"Because Saddam flew them all to Iran. He didn't want any of them to scratch their paint jobs."
The British salesman said, "Is anybody going to try to sell minesweepers to Iraq?"
There was silence in the room.
"Good, then we won't have to be the lowest bidder."
A voice came over the loudspeaker.
"Lufthansa Flight 244 for Baghdad now leaving from Gate 12. All those needing assistance - and international arms merchants - may board before women and children."