U.S. Special Operations Command is preparing to launch a three-month, multi-state exercise across private and public land to prepare Army special forces for threats anywhere in the world. Or at least that’s what the Pentagon would want you to believe. Officials and citizens in Texas, one of the states involved, see something potentially more nefarious in the exercise, dubbed Jade Helm 15. And now Rep. Louie Gohmert is joining them.
“Over the past few weeks, my office has been inundated with calls referring to the Jade Helm 15 military exercise scheduled to take place between July 15 and September 15, 2015,” Gohmert said in a Tuesday statement. “This military practice has some concerned that the U.S. Army is preparing for modern-day martial law. Certainly, I can understand these concerns.”
“When leaders within the current administration believe that major threats to the country include those who support the Constitution, are military veterans, or even ‘cling to guns or religion,’ patriotic Americans have reason to be concerned,” Gohmert wrote.
The congressman took particular issue with the layout and labels of the Pentagon map for the exercise. “Once I observed the map depicting ‘hostile,’ ‘permissive,’ and ‘uncertain’ states and locations, I was rather appalled that the hostile areas amazingly have a Republican majority, ‘cling to their guns and religion,’ and believe in the sanctity of the United States Constitution.” Gohmert called on the Pentagon to change the map, the names on the map, and said “the tone of the exercise needs to be completely revamped so the federal government is not intentionally practicing war against its own states.”
The Pentagon has insisted that claims that Jade Helm is anything other than a military exercise—and one that it says would have in-state economic benefits—are completely bunk. “Jade Helm is a long planned and coordinated exercise,” a Pentagon spokesman told CNN. “We are not taking over anything.”
On Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott defended his open letter to the Texas State Guard, saying that his office is “playing a pivotal role of government and that is to provide information to people who have questions.”
Former Texas governor Rick Perry, though, thinks Abbott has gone too far. “It’s OK to question your government. I do it on a regular basis,” Perry said Tuesday. “But the military is something else.”
On the other hand, Chuck Norris had this to say: “Whether deterrence, display of power, or something more covert or devious, let’s not come with any patronizing nonsense of impotence and simplicity when its origin is in Washington.”
Normally, I might agree with Rick Perry, but considering this is O’s military, I still have my doubts about completely trusting them. Most of them have families of their own and love this country, so I don’t see them firing on Americans. The thing I have a problem with is the overall theme of the exercise. According to the Army’s request, they will be using role players, firing blanks, and tossing mock prisoners into camps, complete with arm bands. (Gee, where have we seen those before?) I see no reason to do this in a civilian settings when they have training facilities all over the US.
I take issue with the Pentagon’s statement that this exercise would have in-state economic benefits. Their request states that the ‘estimated economic impact is approximately $150,000’, but they don’t explain where or how that income will be generated. Regardless, it’s government money (aka our money) doing nothing but going in a circle, via various restaurants & hotels, then right back to the government in taxes, so far as I can tell.