On Thursday, we reviewed the official, unclassified Jade Helm 15 slide deck and remarked on some of the more amusing aspects of the US Special Operations Command's upcoming two-month-long fake covert invasion of Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California. For those unfamiliar, Jade Helm is a training exercise wherein Green Berets, Navy SEALS, Marines, and other members of the armed forces will "practice core special warfare tasks, which help protect the nation against foreign enemies."
Essentially, the states listed above were chosen because the army figures the landscape approximates the terrain and environmental conditions US armed forces may face in a modern overseas conflict, but predictably, the government didn’t do the best job of explaining things and in a particularly awkward section of the presentation entitled “Why Texas?”, the Spec Ops Command stumbled through a hilariously condescending account of why the Lone Star state was perfect for the drills. Here is how we summarized it:
Next is the section entitled “Why Texas?” wherein the US Army Special Operations Command first explains how patriotic Texans generally are, then hilariously proceeds to suggest (in as polite a manner as possible) that the Lone Star state 1) resembles the type of desert wasteland soldiers might expect to encounter in a modern overseas conflict, 2) is just underdeveloped enough in many areas to give trainees an idea of what it might be like to be operating undercover in a hostile Middle Eastern country, 3) is home to the type of xenophobia which will make the locals approximately as skeptical of “outsiders” as the inhabitants of an occupied country might be but who are at the same time just gullible enough to be tricked into trusting the “invaders,” and best of all 4) is home to social and economic conditions that any normal American would consider “unfamiliar.”
Ultimately, some concerned citizens hailing from Bastrop voiced their skepticism about the exercises to Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria at an information session last Monday. Among the theories floated by the crowd: the government is preparing to confiscate Texans’ guns, the army is gathering intelligence on the way to instituting martial law in Texas, and the Special Ops Command may bring in ISIS fighters (presumably to make the exercises more realistic). In the end, Governor Greg Abbott got wind of these voters’ concerns and took the rather unusual step of calling on the Texas Guard to supervise the Jade Helm drills, prompting us to remark that “you now have a Texas governor pitting the Texas Guard against the US Special Operations Command amid fears the federal government — possibly in conjunction with Wal-Mart — is using special forces to gather intelligence on the way to taking over the state.” Our concerns about the creeping militarization of US communities notwithstanding, we can't help but find the entire spectacle entertaining.
Now at least one Texas Republican seems to think the Governor’s move might have marked Jade Helm’s full retard moment because as you can see from the following letter, 16-year Texas House member Todd Smith thinks the decision to have the state guard monitor the US military is nothing short of preposterous.
Dear Governor Abbott,
Let me apologize in advance that your letter pandering to idiots who believe that US Navy Seals and other US military personnel are somehow a threat to be watched has left me livid. As a 16 year Republican member of the Texas House and a patriotic AMERICAN, I am 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'm not sure which is worse. As one of the remaining Republicans who actually believes in making decisions based on facts and evidence- you used to be a judge?- 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? It is alarming that our State Republican leadership is such that we must choose between DEGREES of demagoguery. I know that in many cases you are the better of the two demagogues (see the Lieutenant Governor driven nut job rant regarding your Pre-K program as a recent example). Having been there, I also know that politicians are not always able to speak their mind because they represent large groups of people and not just themselves. But this bone that you have thrown to those who believe that the U.S. Military is a threat to the State of Texas is an embarrassing distance beyond the pale. You are Governor of Texas! This is an open request—from a ghost of our State's recent Republican past—that you act like it. Enough is enough. You have embarrassed and disappointed all Texans who are also informed, patriotic Americans. And it is important to rational governance that thinking Republicans call you out on it.
Below is Smith's letter followed by the original from Abbott to Texas Guard commander "Jake" Betty.