Sunday, May 10, 2015
What is Jade Helm 15?
Weekly Opinion Editorial
JADE HELM 15?
by Steve Fair
Jade Helm 15 is a large military exercise planned for this summer in seven(7) western states, including Texas. According to the U.S. Army website, Jade Helm is a multi-state training exercise taking place July 15 through Sept. 15 with members of U.S. Army Special Operations Command and service members from the military’s four branches. While the exercise is taking place across seven states, the Special Operations Forces are only training in five states: Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado.
The exercise has caused many to become concerned that President Obama is planning to declare martial law and use the military to keep the more conservative areas of the country in line. Social media and the internet is full of those who say the mere size of the exercise should be questioned. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the Texas State Guard to monitor Jade Helm. “During the training operation, it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed,” Abbott said. The Pentagon has acknowledged this is the largest exercise of this type they have conducted. Some parts of the operational details have been disclosed, including the fact that there will be 1,200 troops participating, and according to CNN, "mainly Army Green Berets, but also a small group of Navy SEALS and Air Force special operations troops as well as conventional Army infantry." At a town hall meeting in Bastrop, Texas, Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria, said the exercises will helps soldiers adapt to unfamiliar territory, but critics say if the exercise were about the war in the Middle East, they would be conducted in the desert, not near populated areas.
After Wal-Mart shuttled three Supercenters, including one in Tulsa and one in Texas, there was speculation the stores were going to be used in the military exercise, perhaps as FEMA processing centers after martial law is declared. Wal-Mart has denied that is the case.
Martial law is the imposition of the highest-ranking military officer as the military governor or as the head of the government thus removing all power from the previous executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. It is usually imposed temporarily when the government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively (e.g., maintain order and security, or provide essential services). If President Obama declared martial law, he could theoretically suspend the constitutional rights of Americans until ‘order is restored.’
Walker Texas Ranger star Chuck Norris supports Abbott’s concern about Jade Helm 15. Norris said, “Concerned Texans and Americans are in no way calling into question our brave and courageous men and women in uniform. They are merely following orders. What’s under question are those who are pulling the strings at the top of Jade Helm 15 back in Washington. The U.S. government says, “It’s just a training exercise.” But I’m not sure the term “just” has any reference to reality when the government uses it.”
While it is unlikely that Obama will declare martial law and attempt to stay in office when his second term expires, the mere size, scope and objectives of Jade Helm 15 should concern Americans. It is certain that individual property rights are going to be violated. At the town hall meeting, Col. Lastoria said the exercise would be conducted on public and ‘private’ land with no compensation to land owners. That might be a little risky in Texas, even for heavily armed military types. Texans- or Oklahomans- don’t take too kindly to being told the government is going to use your land without your permission.
There are more questions than answers about the Jade Helm 15 exercise. Why is it so large? Why is it being conducted in specific geographic areas? What are the military Special Forces training for? The lack of information on the large scale operation fuels wild theories- or maybe not so wild theories? President Obama has proven he has little or no regard for the Constitution and the rule of law. That makes the conspiracy theorists not so unbelievable. At the very least, the public should have answers to these simple questions before Jade Helm 15 proceeds.