Maybe by now you’ve heard of Jade Helm 15, which is either a major US military training exercise taking place across several Southwestern states, or the first wave of a clandestine takeover of states that didn’t vote for Obama, wherein martial law will be declared, guns confiscated (naturally), and Walmart stores cleverly repurposed as FEMA reeducation centers. I suppose Walmart was chosen because their everyday low prices make it cheaper to reeducate the populace there than at Target – and to think people say government spending is wasteful!
The basis for these fears – besides the fact that the president is a black guy with a funny name – is a single leaked PowerPoint slide from a Pentagon presentation about the exercise, in which Texas and Utah are tinted red and labeled as hostile territories. The military has patiently explained that in wargames the bad guys are always the ‘Red Team’, and that Texas and Utah were chosen because it’s easier to pretend parts of the US are hostile than it is to hold major training exercises in Iran and North Korea for realism’s sake.
Pretty much the only people who don’t believe the military’s explanation are tinfoil hat-wearing right wing lunatics. The problem is that after several election cycles’ worth of voter suppression and low turnout, the state of Texas is now being run by tinfoil hat-wearing right wing lunatics.
Texas Senator John Cornyn wants his constituents to know he met with top Pentagon officials in Washington to get answers about Jade Helm. (“Tell me straight up, general: Are you going to invade Texas? Blink once for yes.”) Congressman Louie Gohmert has demanded that the military change their training map so that Texas is no longer listed as hostile, because the combat readiness of our armed forces is a secondary concern to ensuring that no Texans’ feelings are hurt.
And then there’s the crown jewel of paranoia pandering: Texas governor Greg Abbott has ordered the Texas State Guard to “monitor” the Jade Helm exercises to ensure that Texans’ “…safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed.” This means that Texas, the state that refuses to expand Medicaid to a million uninsured residents because of ‘fiscal conservatism’, is now spending taxpayer dollars so State Guard units can protect Texans from their own government’s military training exercise.
I guess you can’t fault the governor for wanting to protect his citizens’ constitutional rights. Of course, a fair number of legal experts have made the argument that under the Constitution’s ‘Equal Protection’ clause all Americans have the right to marry whomever they please regardless of gender. I guess that’s not as pressing an issue as the government’s imminent invasion of a state that’s already home to 15 military bases and over 120,000 active duty servicemen and women.
Personally, I have a hard time taking any conspiracy theory seriously if FEMA is one of the fearsome, shadowy villains. In my experience, FEMA has a hard enough time distributing bottled water in the wake of natural disasters; I seriously doubt they’re up to the task of brainwashing millions of Texans to hate country music and love quinoa.
And with all due respect to the US military, I have an even harder time believing they’re capable of imposing a new social order across a vast territory populated by 25 million heavily armed people who don’t like the US government. That’s more or less what we tried to do in Iraq, and look how well that turned out.
Why is it that so many of the people who believe government is too bloated, corrupt, and inefficient to educate children or subsidize health insurance also believe that same government is capable of executing a lightning fast, extremely complex plot to enslave tens of millions of people under martial law? How is the government simultaneously incompetent and diabolical? Do the slow-witted thumb-twiddling bureaucrats with overinflated pensions run the government only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while the Illuminati and anti-Christian socialists do Monday, Wednesday, and Friday? Who’s in charge on the weekends – militant homosexuals or lizard people?
All of this controversy and commotion has done nothing to stop Jade Helm – the exercise (or takeover) starts next month. About the only change is that now the whole operation will be keenly observed by a few bored Texas State Guard members with binoculars and a notepad looking for anything suspicious. Best case scenario, maybe they’ll pick up some of the training through osmosis and this whole thing won’t be a total waste.