Ca$hing in on the Stolen Valor decision

It isn’t just the phonies like Ken Aden and John Giduck that are celebrating their new License to Lie signed by six of the nine Supreme Court Justices, for whom veterans’ accomplishments and sacrifices are worth less than the name on a tube of toothpaste.Along with the phony soldiers, the makers of phony products have been unleashed.

If someone you meet in a bar says he’s SF, Ranger or a SEAL, odds are he’s lying (there are far more liars out there than actual elite-unit vets). And if some outfit is trying to sell you some piece of crap with the claim that it’s a “Special Forces” piece of crap, well, you should be able to figure it out.

If not, you’re the guy John Wayne was talking about when he said, “Life is hard. It’s harder if you’re stupid.”

For example, this watch sold by some outfit called Hammacher Schlemmer is presented as the “Genuine Special Forces Watch.” It’s a lie, of course, but Anthony Kennedy and five other Supreme Court justices have just ruled that lying is OK, as long as it only demeans and damages soldiers and veterans and not anybody who matters, like, for instance, judges, lawyers, or those copyright holders who pay their lawyers (and, presumably, pay their judges).

There is no “official Special Forces watch.” From time to time, small SF units have bought watches, but guys buy their own watches. There are, of course, trends and fads here like in any other workplace. In the 1960s through the 80s, the “in” watch was the Rolex Submariner, bought for a good price from a jeweler in Bad Tölz or Bangkok. If you were a cheapskate, you bought a Seiko dive watch. In the nineties and oughts, Suunto watches which have barometric features and other navigation capabilities became popular (some units bought them specifically for medics). And you used to be able to draw a watch from Supply — a standard, wind-it-up Army Hamilton or similar. But the Hammacher Schlemmer soi-disant Special Forces watch is about a genuine as the Rolexes they sell on eBay.

Looking at the watch itself, the SF claim gets thinner. Even the features on this watch are not what an SF guy would want. Can you imagine the klutz on your team having this available to him:

Located at the 12, 4, and 8 o’clock positions, three LEDs provide a total of 300 lumens. Set to flash as a white strobe light, they pierce the dark up to one mile away for sending a distress signal, or set to shine continuously, they can scour the ground for lost items. The LEDs can also illuminate the dial with an ambient blue glow for inconspicuous map reading…

We’re trying to think of a real-world problem array that will require this solution and we’re still coming up el blanko.

Yeah, we’ve spent billions in developing and training with night observation devices so that we can summon every enemy within 12 miles with this thing. (We have had infrared strobe lights on our web gear for about 30 years now). What in the name of Niffelheim do these geniuses think SF teams do out there in the woods? “Dang, I know I left my boom box around here somewhere. Buddy, turn on your watch so I can find it and we can have some righteous tuneage!”

Well, yeah, sometimes we do that, but when we’re “admin,” as they say, we have these remarkable inventions called flashlights. We also have headlamps. We have SureFire floodlights we can put on our guns… and we have the AN/PEQ-2 and its successors, devices that combines an infrared aiming or target designation laser and an IR floodlight, invisible to the naked eye. Nobody’s so hard up for illumination that he needs a Vegas light show on his watch.

But wait, as Ron Popeil (who at least never used stolen valor or cool-by-association to sell his crap) would say, there’s more! Let’s read between the lines of this little factoid from the Genuine Fake Special Forces Watch’s propaganda page at Ham-Schlem:

The watch’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides up to eight hours of continuous LED light (or one month of regular use) from a full six-hour charge without cables using the included electromagnetic charger.

What that says is, if you use this craptastic thing,you have to recharge it with a wall socket at least every month (and that’s if you don’t use any of the disco lights) for six hours. Any idea what the world record is for a Special Forces team between visits to civilization? A watch that makes a best-case month in the ad copy is not something you can take to the field with confidence.  (We bet the wall charger is 110v only, too, but that’s simply a coup de grâce on an already dead idea).

Hey, if you want a watch to accompany your phony Special Forces stories, this abortion can be yours for a mere $600 — of which, we figure $400 is profit, $170 is advertising, and $30 is a cheap Chinese case and quartz movement.

It’s a great gift for the Ken Aden in your life. Since all the real SF guys are laughing at him anyway.