Martial law is coming, except that it’s not. There’s been some unmitigated insanity over the proposed Jade Helm military exercises that have some conservatives warning that this is a prelude to a coup. To make matters worse, the conspiracy theory has been given a dash of legitimacy when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the National Guard to monitor the operation in the interest of public safety. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) have said they will make inquiries about the upcoming operation. Jade Helm begins on July 15 and will last eight weeks. The Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and the 82nd Airborne–1,200 men–will be carrying out counterinsurgency exercises. The source of this new conspiracy theory, along with the Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group, HAARP, and the Denver International Airport, seems to be Alex Jones’ InfoWars (via the Hill):
The U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) maintains there is nothing menacing about Jade Helm.
The exercise announced on March 24 runs eight weeks, from July 15 to Sept. 15, with troops training in seven states: Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas and Utah.
The Pentagon said states were chosen with terrain that allows troops to practice complicated military maneuvers away from population centers.
A statement said the public “can expect nothing much different from their day-to-day activities since much of the exercise will be conducted in remote areas.”
“The most noticeable effect the exercise may have on the local communities is an increase in vehicle and military air traffic and associated noise,” it added.
“There will also be an economic gain: an increase in the local economy, in fuel and food purchases and hotel lodging.”
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the House Armed Services chairman, threw cold water on the conspiracy theories.
“These are among the most patriotic, courageous, independent-thinking people I have ever been around,” he told the Wichita Falls Times Record News of the special forces participating.
“They are not robots that are going to go door to door confiscating people’s guns, or rounding people up into vacant Wal-Marts,” he added. “That’s not going to happen.”
Thornberry's office noted the military's strong ties to Texas, adding that 225,000 military and Defense Department personnel call the state home, alongside 1.7 million veterans, as of 2012.
For its part, the Pentagon is trying to reassure the public and denies rumors of a secret plot.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter was asked during a press conference Thursday if the military was "planning to overtake Texas."
Carter flatly replied “no” to laughter.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest also insisted Texans are safe.
“In no way will the constitutional rights or civil liberties of any American citizen be infringed upon while this exercise is being conducted,” said Earnest on April 29.
Asked for his reaction to Abbott, Earnest replied, “I have no idea what he’s thinking.”
The person who is the voice of reason seems to be Gov. Rick Perry (via Betsy Woodruff) [emphasis mine]:
Former Texas governor Rick Perry drew the sharpest contrast with Abbott’s Infowars pandering.
“It’s OK to question your government. I do it on a regular basis,” he said on May 5, per the Dallas Morning News. “But the military is something else. Our military is quite trustworthy. The civilian leadership, you can always question that, but not the men and women in uniform.”
Questioning men and women in uniform is exactly what Abbott did, and exactly what Cruz and Paul endorsed. Now, thanks to Infowars and unfounded anxieties, we have an early way of differentiating between some of the most conservative—and, in Perry’s case, potential—presidential candidates.
Jones was invited by ABC News to appear on This Week this past Sunday to discuss Jade Helm; he never showed. He accused the new organization of dirty tricks, like slow car service, that torpedoed his appearance, a claim the ABC News said is patently false. In fact, Mediate reported that the car for Jones was outside his apartment an hour ahead of schedule–Jones did not answer their phone calls or knock on his door by building security.
To further get a handle on Mr. Jones, he said two White House sources told him that Bin Laden died in 2002, was frozen, and will be presented at a future date. Two years ago, he stopped by the Howard Stern Show for an 80-minute interview. I’ll just leave this here:
Folks, this isn’t something out of Seven Days In May, though that mainly involved the military taking over telecommunications to remove the President of the United States; (it’s a good movie!) Yet, this fear over Helm is just insanity–period. And the 2016 GOP field shouldn’t help fan the flames of this nonsense.