Recently, news broke concerning Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott’s announcement that he ordered the commander of the Texas State Guard to mobilize his forces to monitor the activities taking place soon in his state that will be part of a domestic military exercise known as Jade Helm 15.
The governor made the announcement after hearing an outcry from Texas residents who live in counties where the large special operations exercise will take place. Many feared the exercise would lead to a federal takeover of Texas or serve as the start of implementing martial law.
But the Pentagon issued a response to the Texas governor and residents of the state Monday, essentially telling them to chill out — dismissing claims of a possible federal takeover of the state as “wild speculation.”
“Operation Jade Helm poses no threat to any American’s civil liberties,” Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said Monday.
Jade Helm 15 will involve thousands of special operations military personnel, including Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, Green Berets and similar units training across seven states, including Texas, which was labeled as “hostile” for training purposes.
A spokesman for the Texas State Guard, a state-based military force that answers to the governor’s office and cannot be pressed into service by the federal government, said, “The Texas State Guard stands ready to support the governor of Texas when called upon to serve.”
While many Democrats and even a few Republicans blasted Gov. Abbott for his actions, 2016 presidential hopeful Ted Cruz defended the governor, saying, “You know, I understand the concern that’s been raised by a lot of citizens about Jade Helm.”
He added, “When you see a federal government that is attacking our free speech rights, our religious liberty rights, our Second Amendment rights, that produces distrust as to government.” (H/T McClatchy DC)
There seems to be a split among Texans as far as concerns Jade Helm 15, which is set to launch in July. Some cities held council meetings allowing U.S. Army officials to present their operational plans for within city limits, allowing them to vote whether or not to allow the operation to move forward in their city. Many voted yes.
But there are plenty of citizens who smell trouble, standing by the idea that Jade Helm 15 is part of something much more sinister than a simple training exercise.