The ad in the Sept. 24, 2005 issue of National Journal, a political-affairs publication, depicts U.S. special operations troops rappelling out of a CV-22 Osprey built by Bell and Boeing in an assault on a mosque. "It descends from the heavens. Ironically it unleashes hell," reads the ad's headline.
Bell spokesman Mike Cox said the ad, developed by the company's agency, TM Advertising in Irving, was supposed to have been pulled by all publications after it ran one other time nearly a month ago.
Boeing also issued a statement. "We consider the ad offensive, regret its publication and apologize to those who like us are dismayed with its contents," said Mary Foerster, vice president of communications for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.
National Journal said in a statement that it had been instructed to pull the ad and had failed to do so.
Corey Saylor, government affairs director for council, said the group accepted the apologies but still questioned the motives of Bell and Boeing. "That clearly is a mosque they're assaulting," Saylor said. "The implication there is it's not a war on extremism, it's a war on Islam."
The advertisement copy reads: "Before you hear it, you see it. By the time you see it it's too late. The CV-22 delivers Special Forces to insertion points never thought possible. It flies faster. It flies farther. It flies quieter. Consider it a gift from above."
But critics said the company's apology is too little, too late. They said the image of troops being dropped onto a mosque in combat has already done its harm.
"The people who did this ad, they really intended to harm the religion and alienate this great nation against Islam itself, not against insurgents; it is against Muslims," said Jamal Qaddura of the Dar El-Eman Islamic Center in Arlington. "It is basically an open invitation to harm the Muslim community here. I don't know how you can interpret this any other way," he said. "If this was a cross, or a church, or a synagogue, half of this nation would be after Bell to get them out of business."