Jade Helm lunacy hits the Texas government. It’s not just embarrassing. It’s disgusting.


There has to be a reasonable explanation. Please let there be a reasonable explanation.

This weekend Texas Governor Greg Abbott – MY governor, the governor I voted for – mobilized Texas State Guard members for a state emergency. What’s the emergency? American Special Operations troops are training. In Texas. Which is part of America. American troops training in America is scary. So Governor Abbott is sending State Guard troops to “monitor” the training.

I wish I was kidding.

Maybe you’ve heard media reports about the upcoming “training exercise” called Operation Jade Helm. It’s actually a massive government conspiracy to overthrow the Constitution, confiscate guns, and impose martial law on Texas. Sure, you might think that’s conspiracy theory lunacy. But it must be true; if not, surely Governor Abbott wouldn’t mobilize Texas militia to monitor Jade Helm. Right?

I first heard about the State Guard mobilization when I saw this article on Facebook: http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2015/05/02/403865824/texas-governor-deploys-state-guard-to-stave-off-obama-takeover. At first I assumed it was a joke. To my horror, I discovered it wasn’t. But I still hoped the story wasn’t true; even if it wasn’t a joke, maybe NPR just got it wrong.

NPR photo

NPR photo

NPR’s reporting turned out to be slightly incorrect. They originally reported Texas National Guard members were being mobilized to monitor Operation Jade Helm. In reality, the troops were from the Texas State Guard, which is our official state militia. Unlike the Air and Army National Guard, State Guard troops don’t carry weapons and aren’t paid for monthly drills (although they are paid when mobilized on state active duty orders). They wear military uniforms almost the same as the regular Army and are addressed by rank. But SG members don’t need any actual military experience and don’t have age, height/weight or physical fitness standards. They tend to be decent, honest, older men and women with successful careers and skills critically important during state emergencies. I’ve met many of them, interacted with some on a regular basis, competed against some at military competitions, and attended a couple of State Guard drills when I was in high school.

Yes, I admire and respect these State Guardsmen. No, they shouldn’t “monitor” Special Operations troops conducting important training.

So State Guard and National Guard troops aren’t the same thing. That ultimately doesn’t matter. Our governor actually ordered American troops to ensure other American troops aren’t trying to wage war against Texas. He doesn’t trust my military brothers and sisters. Or he’s caving to the lunatics who don’t trust us. Which is it?

I’ve seen the moronic, nonsensical hysteria about Jade Helm from near-clinically insane conspiracy theorists. I’ve heard completely irrational concerns about Jade Helm from otherwise normal people. I watched the recent press conference near Bastrop, Texas, where an exasperated Public Affairs Colonel had to answer repeated, ridiculous questions from people who seemed to desperately want Jade Helm to be a sinister conspiracy (“Why can’t they just train on post? What about the closed Wal-Mart, is it a FEMA camp? WHAT WILL YOU DO IF YOU’RE ORDERED TO CONFISCATE OUR GUNS?”). But despite the ranting of the conspiracy crowd, Jade Helm is nothing to worry about.

About 74 seconds of research on Google will show anyone – including Governor Abbott – that Special Operations and regular troops have been training off post in civilian areas for decades. Army Special Forces trainees attend an exercise called Robin Sage as their final test; Robin Sage takes place in rural North Carolina six to eight times a year, on civilian land, with civilian volunteers. The exercise has been going on for over fifty years (http://sofrep.com/40934/jade-helm-15-special-forces-off-post-training/). Last I heard, North Carolina isn’t under martial law.

Many other military exercises take place off post, among the civilian population. I’ve participated in some myself. No, they’re not practice for martial law. They’re off post because the real world is a far more challenging environment than the sterile, control-freak atmosphere of a military training area. A soldier on a base full of soldiers doesn’t have to try too hard to not get noticed. A soldier among vigilant civilians faces a far greater challenge, which makes off-post training for certain skills very desirable. And last I heard, we actually want our troops to be trained. Especially our Special Operations troops, who often have to carry out critically important covert missions among civilian populations overseas.

I have one piece of advice for Jade Helm conspiracy theorists: the day after the exercise ends, open your gun safe. If your guns are still there (and they will be), SHUT UP. If you’re not in a Wal-Mart FEMA camp (and you won’t be), SHUT UP. Stop desperately hoping your conspiracy fantasies are real. They’re not.

As a Marine and Soldier who’s served for over twenty-five years, I have to ask: does Governor Abbott consider me a threat? Does he worry that I’m plotting to wage war against my own country? When I was training for my wartime mission, did he think the State Guard should have monitored me? Am I suspected to have evil intentions because I sometimes trained off post?

Whatever someone thinks about the federal government – and I personally have huge criticisms and concerns – how does a reasonable person accuse the Special Operations troops participating in Jade Helm of treason? Even if the federal government intends to confiscate all our guns and put us under UN control (it doesn’t, but some people believe that) why do people think regular Joe Soldier is willing to murder American citizens, stick traumatized survivors in Wal-Marts-turned-FEMA-camps, take everyone’s guns and impose martial law?

Our troops come from this society. Our cities are their cities. Our families are their families.

Some conspiracy theorists are (unfortunately) veterans, or are closely related to veterans. They, of course, would never want to destroy American freedoms. Yet they suspect our best, most dedicated and bravest troops of preparing to do just that. That’s ridiculous, irrational and hypocritical. Some others argue that Governor Abbott was correct to mobilize State Guardsmen because his constituents have concerns. Whether those concerns are valid or not, Abbott has a responsibility to address them.

My response is “whatever”. Irrational concerns deserve nothing other than “That’s stupid and we’re not worried about it. Next question.” If you disagree, then do you think Governor Abbott should mobilize the State Guard to watch the sky for chemtrails? Or search for MK-Ultra sleeper agents? What about monitoring the border for UN troops being secretly brought across? Should we task the State Guard to stop the US government from spreading Ebola?

Screenshot-51 (2)

Conspiracy theorists operate under the non-logic of “We don’t have proof it isn’t true, so let’s believe it!” Does that stupidity deserve to be addressed? How many ridiculous, dumbass conspiracy theories does Governor Abbott have to respond to? And why did he respond to this one?

As a combat veteran, I have at times felt ignored or disrespected by our federal government. But I always felt – ALWAYS – that Texas and its government were a bastion of common sense, old-school values and respect for service and sacrifice. I’ve never had a single reason to believe my state government viewed me as a problem because of my military service.

Now I do. It sucks. And I didn’t expect that from this state, or this governor.

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com and Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).


189 Responses to “Jade Helm lunacy hits the Texas government. It’s not just embarrassing. It’s disgusting.”

  1. 1 Priscilla

    “What can government do about conspiracy theories? Among the things it can do, what should it do? We can readily imagine a series of possible responses. (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might itself engage in counterspeech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counterspeech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help. Each instrument has a distinctive set of potential effects, or costs and benefits, and each will have a place under imaginable conditions. However, our main policy idea is that government should engage in cognitive infiltration of the groups that produce conspiracy theories, which involves a mix of (3), (4) and (5).”
    Sunstein, Obama czar
    It’s bat-sh*t crazy and almost enough to make you want to fling some poo.

    • Your comment indicates you think he’s making serious proposals with 1 or 2. I’d have to see the context in which the remarks were made, but since he’s a constitutional scholar, I would assume he’s positing ideas from the absurd (make it illegal) to the plausible (counter speech, which would seem a rational approach and which is ongoing).

      Of course, the government isn’t going to make conspiracy narratives illegal. It’s already illegal to foment treason and I think that might cover people who are seriously proposing violent revolt.

      Ironically, if The Government were really what the conspiracists believed it to be, then it would have already made conspiracy narratives illegal. Ditto, birther claims, calling the POTUS a secret Muslim, or any number of other names he’s been called very publicly (I do not envy that man his job). Notice that even people who have casually called for the president’s assassination are still walking around free calling for the president’s assassination.

      I was glad to see that Sunstein was taking into account, potential effects, costs and benefits, and imaginable conditions. If conspiracists could be persuaded to take those things into account when they develop their narratives, there would be far fewer conspiracy theories floating around.

      • 3 Priscilla

        Why should “the government” concern itself with conspiracy theories at all?Why is it their business what anyone thinks? Why should government “engage in cognitive infiltration”? Sunstein mentions “doubters” and “half-way believers”. Are official narratives some new mythos or religion that people must believe in, lest we commit heresy? Sheesh.

        • 4 Priscilla

          Sad thing, none of this about truth, just perception and public opinion.

        • “Why should “the government” concern itself with conspiracy theories at all?Why is it their business what anyone thinks?”

          Really? Let me try to express this in personal terms.

          If someone in your place of work was spreading vicious lies about you, trying to get friends and coworkers and managers to distrust you, shun you, even take physical action against you (lose you your job, your home, your marriage, perhaps), would you be concerned? Would you try to get the truth out in some way? What if a neighbor began to spread the theory that you were a pedophile who could not be trust with her own children? Would you do anything about it?

          I guess not, since, in your reality, you shouldn’t concern yourself with it, right? After all, what possible damage could it to do you and your family and friends? It’s none of your business what people think of you, is it? Especially people who don’t really know you that well but just don’t like you or don’t like the job you’re doing, or who maybe think they ought to have your job or that you shouldn’t have children.

          It should be perfectly obvious why any government would be concerned with conspiracy theories. Ultimately conspiracy narratives are what drive some pretty horrific ideologies in the world—ISIS and other Islamist groups operate in a sea of conspiracy narratives about what the “infidel” wants to do to good observant Muslims. So do such “Christian” hate groups and doomsday groups as the Huttaree, the groups at Jonestown and Waco, the Christian militias in Africa, Tim McVeigh, skinheads, the list goes on and on.

          Most people whose emotions get engaged with this Them and Us mentality won’t act on it violently. But some will. And they are more likely to act against those they feel are their enemies if they are surrounded by a group of fellow believers who support their beliefs.

          Even the non-violent expression of this level of hatred is destructive to the fabric of any community. It fosters distrust, discord and disintegration. I know the power of words very well. They can heal or they can harm. And despite the assurances of some hoary aphorism (sticks and stones etc), they can harm deeply.

          I think the idea of cognitive infiltration—trying to get at what these groups are thinking and saying—is an extension of what any government might try to do to protect itself and its people from terrorists for example. Do you think any government would prefer to see a terrorist strike on its own soil than take some criticism from people who don’t understand the stakes?

          Again, I draw your attention to the fact that the real government is not reacting to conspiracy narratives by arresting people, throwing them in jail or declaring their theories illegal. The internet is drowning in conspiracy narratives, some of which advocate violence against the government or individuals within it. Yet, this same allegedly evil Government has attempted to do nothing about it. If their intent is to hold America in an iron grip (bwahahahaha) they have failed at Villain 101.

      • 6 priscilla

        “…each will have a place under imaginable conditions.” I would like to know under what conditions Sunstein imagines 1 and 2 will have a place. I can’t think of any.

    • By the way, your use of the word czar to describe Sunstein is interesting. He was Mr. Obama’s Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. I’m not sure that qualifies as a czar, but I think it’s kind of cute that his successor’s names is Boris Bershteyn.

      OMG. Obama hired a Russian dude to administer his office of Regulatory Affairs—it’s a commie plot!

      (Sorry, couldn’t resist). 🙂

      • 8 Priscilla

        His paper is at the link if you care to peruse, in the full glory of its context. He’s been described as a disciple of Peter Singer, the bioethicist (ha, ha) who is a proponent of infanticide up to eighteen months after birth. Anyway, that he should get anywhere near policy is concerning. This has nothing to do with birther claims, Obama being a Muslim, etc., but nice try. It has to do with free speech. No wonder people are spooked! The word czar is not unusual. It’s been used regularly in the media.

        • 9 Priscilla

          Why is the link I provided no longer there?

          • 10 Priscilla

            Oh, there it is. It’s very enlightening vis a vis conspiracy theories and how to combat them. 🙂

          • Must be a conspiracy 😉

            Seriously, though, what has this got to do with Jade Helm?

            In fact, given that making conspiracy narratives illegal is laughable, what do you think the government response (or anyone’s response) should be to conspiracy narratives? Would you agree that counter speech would be most effective?

        • Priscilla, I’m a professional wordsmith. I understand how certain words are used to create an emotional atmosphere in which the text or subtext is to be received. Using words we know will get certain emotional responses is how writers create context and atmosphere in our stories and it’s how polemists turn blah facts into sources of scandal, anger and fear . . . or attraction, for that matter.

          The word “czar” has had a very negative connotation especially among conservatives, first because of its Soviet etymology and because it has been associated with Mr. Obama’s appointments for various functions. One discussion of czars here: http://www.factcheck.org/2009/09/czar-search/

          You’re right it does have to do with free speech—which you’ve got. Which the conspiracy theorists have got. Which no one—not even Cass Sunstein (or maybe especially not him) is threatening to take away. That is one of the most ironic and frustrating things about the conspiracy tango—there is no threat that the conspiracy theorists will lose their right of free speech.

          • 13 Priscilla

            Czar-in common usage since the days of FDR

          • Yes, it has been in common usage for sometime to indicate an appointment made by the president usually for a certain focused position. Which makes the pejorative use of it by certain political functionaries puzzling, wouldn’t you agree?

            If you tell me you didn’t mean it in the pejorative sense, then I will accept that. There was nothing to indicate the connotation you were attaching to the word.

  2. I had to share this comment from a fellow SF writer at Book View Cafe:

    “Conspiracy theorists are (in my observation) notably, fantastically, self-focused. Of course the US Army wants to invade me: am I not the most important state/person/group in the known universe? The conspiracy feeds this irrational self-importance. It never occurs to them to consider that, if the US government has New York, Washington and California, that they might not be very interested in empty prairie and desert (under four feet of water at this writing) near the Rio Grande. (And oh, an irony so delicious that it would be impossible in a novel: the governor of Texas has asked for federal flood assistance.)”

    She concludes: “Your conspiracy has to make sense — economically, politically, and most importantly from the purely practical point of view. Otherwise it’s nonsense.”

  3. 16 Priscilla


  4. 17 Priscilla

    Incidentally, that’s not a very gracious comment. 31 people have died in the flooding here. Just saying.

    • 18 Priscilla

      I’m not a smart wordsmith, Maya, but I know what condescension is. And schadenfreude, but it’s just flyover country anyway. And that’s all I have to say about that.

      • “I know what condescension is. And schadenfreude, but it’s just flyover country anyway. And that’s all I have to say about that.”

        Perhaps you don’t know what schadenfruede is if you read it into my friend’s comment. She was a bit sarcastic, yes, but we both have friends who live in Texas and care very much about the loss of life. In no way was her comment aimed at those suffering through the floods.

        Try to focus on the point—it’s the same one I’ve been trying to make: What does The Government have to gain by a military takeover of a state it already governs?

        Your contention is that the conspiracists have valid or rational reasons for fearing a military takeover of Texas. A look at simple facts and ten seconds of rational thought on the question above should disabuse anyone of the idea because the answer is, there is nothing to be gained and much to be lost.

        I was raised in “flyover country”, by they way—Nebraska. My father was an air reconnaissance specialist and one time top sergeant at Strategic Air Command. I love “flyover country”. Don’t get distracted by irrelevancies, please.

        • 20 Priscilla

          My contention was that there are valid and rational reasons to mistrust official narratives and that Abbott’s response was good governance and good politics. THAT was my point. How many times must I restate it?

          • 21 Priscilla

            How can you even have a conspiracy theory about an event that has not taken place? All you have is speculation and misgivings. I personally think that the most of their fears are baseless. If you want to know why they have a particular concern, you would have to ask them.

          • And my point, backed up by actual events and reason, is that those reasons are neither valid nor rational. Again, it is a far cry from distrusting the official narrative over, say, WMD in Iraq and theorizing that the Bush administration destroyed the Twin Towers.

            Similarly, there is a disconnect between distrusting the official narrative around Fast and Furious and theorizing that The Government wants to take down Texas. The problem is one of scale. It’s like saying that because Jonny lied about brushing his teeth, he may murder his family in their beds.

            None of the fears expressed by the conspiracists are grounded in any sort of reason. The government is not a hive mind with a single purpose, nor does any one branch have total control. Texas is already governed by Federal law and has military facilities functioning within it—there is no need for a military takeover. The people of Texas are no threat to the US government. The US government has shown no tendency to overreact to subversive groups such as citizen’s militias.

            There is no there there. And as I said, it only requires a quick review of known facts and a moment of rational thought to see that. Governor Abbot, instead of pointing that out gently but firmly, validated the fears of the extremely fearful. He essentially said, “there might be something to this.” To be fair to Abbott, his remarks seemed mostly in regard to business people and others concerned with community disruption or property damage, but I wish he’d tried to calm the more extreme voices.

  5. 23 Priscilla

    Oh my goodness, I just hate to reopen this can of worms, but I have to know. What is your analysis of this theory, not that I am endorsing it in any way, shape or form?

    • Honestly, I think there’s more than a little narcissism in theories like this one. Or at least an inflated sense of importance.

      Do you understand why I might thing that, given the features of the theory?

  6. 25 tokeen678

    This does seem a bit on the kooky side But have you ever seen the film footage of the military assault on the doughboys in 1932 in DC. They were protesting the denial of their request to receive bonus a check for their service in WW1 which ended 12 years prior. They were promised the bonus in 1940 but were starving in the depression. Hoover ordered MacArther to lead the dispersing of the veterans, some of which were in wheel chairs and on crutches, with Eisenhower and Patton under his command. Lippet tanks were used to break up the protest and they were fired on by American soldiers. Their “Hooverville” makeshift dwellings were crushed and they and their families were sent scrambling for safety during the worst economic period in American history. It is a very disturbing piece of film and is part of a PBS documentary called After The Crash. It is something to think about and if you don’t believe it cant happen in our times, think—- Kent State. Texans and militia people do get a bit weeweed up over everything but this time I’m not so sure its not something that should be ignored.

    • The difference here is that there was a ramp up to what happened both in the Depression and at Kent State. In both cases, there were protests underway and the government was reacting to a situation that was already extreme and was unprecedented. The over-arcing reality, indeed, was that the people charged with handling the situation had no idea how to proceed and they screwed up badly in both cases.

      A point I’ve made repeatedly here is that the citizens of Texas aren’t doing anything (let alone something public and unprecedented) that would give the government any reason to tell the military “go handle this situation.”

      To be perfectly clear: there is no situation to be handled. There is nothing to react or respond to.

      Things don’t ever happen in a vacuum. They happen precisely because one set of circumstances leads to another through a series of events, choices, actions and reactions.

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