Sunday, May 10, 2015

They Love Our Troops, Except When They're Terrified of Them

The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion

It’s been said that everything’s bigger and better in Texas. They claim their beer is colder, their women are prettier, and even the nighttime stars are brighter.
Well, I don’t know about all that, but I can tell you this: their wingnuts are wingnuttier. And apparently, they’re running the state.
Seems the U.S. military is planning a large-scale training exercise called Jade Helm 15. JH15, as we’ll call it, is a “challenging eight-week joint military and interagency (IA) Unconventional Warfare (UW) exercise conducted throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado,” which is scheduled for this summer.
Sounds OK, right? Similar to the sort of exercises run around here all the time from Fort Bragg.
OK, that is, except to the paranoid, conspiracy-mongering right, to whom no move by the government, even by the military, is anything less than a harbinger of The Death of Freedom.
Someone got hold of a map that identifies Texas, Utah and a small patch of Southern California as “hostile” territory for purposes of the exercise. To wingnuts, this could only mean one thing: The United States was preparing to invade … itself.
“I’ve hardly ever heard of something joint like this unless they’re planning an invasion,” asserted Alex Jones of the online nut-farm Infowars. Except for, you know, the dozens of other joint exercises the military has conducted on American soil.
Aging martial arts star and conservative icon Chuck Norris joined in, writing for World Net Daily: “What’s under question are those who are pulling the strings at the top of Jade Helm 15 back in Washington.” Poor Chuck. All those shots to the head he took from Bruce Lee are finally taking their toll.
It just keeps getting crazier and crazier. Walmart had to publicly deny that recently shuttered stores are going to be repurposed as prisons for people on a so-called “red list” of dissenters (all red-blooded conservatives, naturally) who’ve been pre-targeted for arrest when the Evil Obama Administration brings the hammer down. Or food distribution centers for Chinese occupation troops. Or something.
This sort of lunacy would have been no reflection at all on the current state of the Republican Party had not the governor of Texas his own self, the Hon. Greg Abbott, decided to buy into it, or at least pretend to. He’s asking the Texas State Guard to go down to the area of the exercise to keep an eye on things and make sure our military doesn’t get out of line, freedom-wise.
“It is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed,” Abbott wrote in his letter to the commander of the TSG.
Huh. I thought the Republicans believed that’s what our troops were for.
It should be noted that the “Texas State Guard” is a different organization from the National Guard, and appears to be mostly concerned with things like disaster relief.
Sorry, but if the government really was executing a military takeover and the TSG was deployed to stop them, they’d barely register as a speed bump as the Army rolled into Austin.
With Abbott standing tall, other Republican pols just naturally had to weigh in against the imaginary plan for the Kenyan Islamocommiefascist Usurper to put Texas under martial law.
Loony Louie Gohmert, the Texas congressman and teahadist mullah who’s taken over the coveted Michele Bachmann Chair in Bat-Spit Craziness, said he was “appalled” by the map, especially “that the hostile areas amazingly have a Republican majority.” He demanded that the “tone of the exercise” be changed “so the federal government is not intentionally practicing war against its own states.”
Even presidential candidate Ted Cruz allowed as how he had “no reason to doubt” the assurances of the military, but he understood “the reason for concern and uncertainty” because that Obama is just so very, very awful.
Poor wingnuts. Their ideology so often requires that they hold two diametrically opposed ideas in their heads at once. They have to revere the “troops” and the police while at the same time being terrified that those organizations are going to impose martial and/or Sharia law any minute.
They have to love their country while maintaining a big ol’ cache of weapons at all times in case they have to make war against it if they lose an election (which would also include firing on those same soldiers and cops).
It’s no wonder some of them go insane. But it’s a pity that some leaders of the GOP feel like they have to don the tinfoil hats of the conspiracy theorists to pander to the party’s lunatic fringe.