Starting today, approximately 1,200 U.S. troops, mostly Special Operations forces, will participate in a two-month military training exercise named Jade Helm 15, which takes place across seven states in the American Southwest, including Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Normally, people would think “So what else is new?”, and continue on without a second thought. Military exercises aren’t anything new, after all. However, this isn’t the case with Jade Helm 15. A combination of the Internet, talk radio and toxic politics have made Jade Helm 15 a conspiracy theory fan’s delight. And, Ground Zero for all the insanity is the state of Texas, of course.
This shouldn’t really surprise anybody. After all, Texas is the home of some of the more “entertaining” characters in modern American politics, such as James Richard “Rick” Perry (the first person to run for a major party’s presidential nomination while facing a felony indictment), Louie “aspersions on my asparagus” Gohmert and, of course, Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, who actually was born in a foreign country, yet whose eligibility for the presidency isn’t questioned. Oh – and we can’t forget the father of the modern libertarian movement (which is more a repackaging of John Birch Society ideals than anything else); Ron Paul.
It’s also the home of Alex Jones and InfoWars. Alex discovered a long time ago that he could make a lot of money by promoting a combination of libertarian politics and wacky conspiracy theories to people who might be drawn to those things. Which brings us to Jade Helm…
All News Pipeline was one of the first to promote a conspiracy argument, claiming that this was an American response to the imminent start of World War III, since “drills are always the way that operations are designed to position men and materials ahead of an operation.” It is also suggested that actually they’re going to murder gun owners after having collected their GPS coordinates, and there’s something about attacking churches. Alex adopted this theory, changed it around a bit and ran with it.
Since, for some crazy reason we haven’t figured out yet, Alex’s rantings have some semblance of respectability in conservative circles, the whole wacky theory spread.
Then, the real crazies started crawling out of the woodwork. For example, All News Pipeline (once again) claimed that this is all a plot to trash our economy and make the Chinese yuan the reserve currency of the world, with the help of Russian soldiers. InfoWars, not to be outdone, ran story after story about Jade Helm. The rumors got even more crazy:
“The government’s going to use closed Walmarts to house foreign troops! No – they’re going to use them as temporary detention centers until they open the FEMA camps! They’ll use ice cream trucks as temporary morgues for use by the execution squads!”
In April, Texas Governor Greg Abbott wrote a letter asking the Texas State Guard to keep an eye on the operation. Ron Paul applauded Abbott’s move, saying “We know that people have been talking about this for a while, but all of a sudden it is everywhere because of the governor of Texas and what he did. It sounds like he’s sympathizing with people who have great concerns with federal takeovers.”
Former Texas state Representative Todd Smith wasn’t as charitable, accusing Abbott of “pandering to idiots.” Smith said he was “horrified that I have to choose between the possibility that my Governor actually believes this stuff and the possibility that my Governor doesn’t have the backbone to stand up to those who do.”
“I am appalled that you would give credence to the nonsense mouthed by those who instead make decisions based on Internet or radio shock jock driven hysteria. Is there ANYBODY who is going to stand up to this radical nonsense that is cancer on our State and Party?”
We’d like to think so, but there really doesn’t seem to be. We would think it would be self-evident to anybody with more than one functioning neuron that if the government wanted to declare martial law in Texas, the 124,796 active duty personnel stationed there would have taken steps in that direction long ago. We would think that It would be just as obvious that 1,200 troops couldn’t enforce martial law on the 26 million + people who live in Texas; not to mention the other states involved in the exercise. But, we think – and that seems to be what’s lacking in Texas these days; thinking.
“Wake up sheeple! The Americans are coming!”