It is rare in pro-business America to turn down a $15 million contract, but that is what Utah-based Desert Tech (formerly Desert Tactical Arms) did last week. According to The Associated Press, the gun-manufacturer turned down a deal to provide arms to Pakistan, and "spurned the opportunity because of unrest in Pakistan and ethical concerns.”
Specifically, those concerns were that because of the concentrated presence of al Qaeda in Pakistan, their weapons might one day be fired on U.S. Troops. Despite the U.S. maintaining that Pakistan is an ally, Desert Tech’s reticence underscores the reality of the two countries’ troubled relationship.
It is unclear how many U.S. troops are stationed in Pakistan at the moment. A 2010 Taliban suicide attack claimed the lives of three soldiers, who according to The New York Times, “were among at least 60 to 100 members of a Special Operations team,” there for intelligence and training. Also, kidnapped U.S. contractor Warren Weinstein has been held in Pakistan for more than two years.
In a telephone interview with KSL TV’s Natalie Crofts, Col. Steven “Randy” Watt, the Commanding Officer of the 19th Special Forces Group and Utah National Guard, commended the company for its decision. He recognized the difficulty of “turning down what could have been a very lucrative contract, in the interest of protecting American service members.”
In the same KSL segment, Desert Tech Owner Nicholas Young said “Probably they are going to buy something else to do the same destruction, but at least our names are not on the heads of our brothers.” Which begs an interesting question, why did they go after the contract in the first place?
Crofts began her segment by saying that “when the Pakistani government began soliciting bids to arm their military, [Desert Tech] threw their hat into the ring (emphasis added).” When Opposing Views contacted Desert Tech, a salesperson said he “didn’t know” why they sought the business in the first place, and since then Desert Tech has offered no further comment. The State Department has also not offered any comment in support or in denial of Desert Tech’s claims.
Still, there is no denying that turning down $15 million has been a fantastic marketing campaign for the company. They received “literally thousands of emails and shares [of Young’s initial Facebook posting announcing the company’s decision] from military members,” which will certainly translate to an increase in business.