Conspiracy theories are continually being churned, but usually out of sight on the fringes. This arrangement seems to satisfy both those manufacturing the theories and the rest of us. But the theory centering on Jade Helm 15 has come to the surface. Like a nocturnal, threatened Madagascar beetle, it’s so rare to behold one in its full exposure. Yet here it is, germinating in the form of sloppy dry-erase boards, unhinged eyes, and obligatory Third Reich references: http://tinyurl.com/o7se37r
For three months this summer, U.S. Army Special Operations Command will conduct a training exercise in the southwest. That’s the official line. The unofficial line is that the government is preparing to implement martial law.
Chuck Norris wrote, “It’s neither over-reactionary nor conspiratorial to call into question or ask for transparency about Jade Helm 15 or any other government activity.” Norris is correct. That is just asking a question and petitioning the government for redress of grievance. To overreact and be conspiratorial requires responding to a detailed explanation from an Army special operations public affairs officer by telling him you don’t believe a word he said. That was the response one redneck gave to Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria after Lastoria explained Jade Helm’s mission and scope to townspeople in Bastrop County, Texas.
Overreacting and a conspiratorial mindset also involves loosely tying together whatever pieces you can scrounge up to fit your story. Appealing to ignorance and raising questions without seeking answers or being satisfied by reasonable responses are other characteristics.
Fueling much of the Jade Helm conspiracy is the map of the training area, which is broken down into areas controlled by notional armies and paramilitary units. Because conservative states Texas and Utah are labeled “hostile,” this raised concern that President Obama was plotting to squelch the opposition. This highlights the selective thinking necessary to make a conspiracy theory work. Republicans control the legislative and executive branches in Nevada and Arizona, but these states were not deemed hostile on the map drawn by martial law minions.
While continually raising questions of the government, media, and other entities, conspiracy theorists seldom hold their own kind to the same standard. For instance, if Jade Helm is a plot to impose martial law, why would the Obama administration publicly announce its existence and lose the element of surprise?
It is good to question the government and it is advantageous to live in a country that allows it. But the distrust in this case is unfounded. We should be wary of police militarization, but not of military militarization. We should be concerned about warrantless NSA searches, but not of training consistent with the Constitution. We should object to the DEA tactic of seizure without trial, but not of using land after consultation with and approval of landowners and local governments.
If we assume that everything that comes from the government is nefarious, we end up like Dave Hodges at commonsenseshow.com. He opens his Jade Helm coverage with this line:
“One day, we are going to awaken to the reality that our country is no more. There will be no United States, no Constitution, and no civil liberties. National armies will bring lethal force against any and all who resist.”
He doesn’t express concern that this might happen, but insists that it will, which means he will see everything through this doomsday lens.
That’s why Lt. Col. Lastoria, with a name, title, experience, and expertise is dismissed, while credence is given to this report: “My sources, who have current connections to Special Operations Forces leadership, have been told by their former colleagues that the field command leadership of Jade Helm is being kept in the dark as to the full scope and true purpose of Jade Helm.” So some guy tells him that he knows some other guy who says it’s a big secret, and this is presented as reliable information.
A good conspiracy morsel will be tantalizing, fearful, and leave the theorist hungering for more. There always has to be something else being exposed and something more sinister lurking. And though it never quite arrives, it’s always imminent, always on the horrible horizon.
In this vein, Hodges continues: “The commanders are extremely concerned about what is coming and what the Jade Helm leadership and their men are going to be ordered to do. Some military types and their former colleagues have deduced that Jade Helm is about controlling civil unrest.”
With this way of thinking, anything can be tied together. In this case, Hodges finds a connection between a Navy and Army active duty exercise in the Southwest and a Marine Reserve drill in Michigan. In the Michigan drill, Danish and U.S .troops train together, which is a very common occurrence among allied nations.
But Hodges concludes this proves the government has backup plans in case American soldiers won’t kill U.S. citizens. He asks, “Will American commanders and their soldiers comply with the illegal order to fire upon American citizens, or will they have to resort to the use of foreign assets? The appearance of foreign troops on our soil clearly speaks to the fact that the leadership behind Jade Helm is hedging their bets.”
To summarize, training exercises in the southwest and Midwest are proof Danes will kill you. And we thought we had survived the Viking invasion of North America.
Hodges wasn’t through connecting the demented dots. Last week, U.S. military installations upgraded their threat condition from Alpha to Bravo. The government attributed this to ISIS, but Hodges knew better. “The best way to get U.S. soldiers to carry out the use of deadly force against Americans is to issue these orders in an atmosphere surrounded by great fear and apprehension,” he assured us, surprisingly in lower case. Hodges further asserts that Jade Helm participants will kill the power grid, with the U.S. blaming Iran and North Korea.
Hodges may soon find himself of the receiving end of such accusations. Now that Jade Helm is so public, it will have a short shelf life among the most hardened conspiracy theorists. They will consider it a distraction from something even darker, and sites like Hodges that are “exposing” Jade Helm will be part of the government cover-up. And I have that on good authority from a source who knows a guy who knows a guy.