Thursday, May 7, 2015

Jade Helm 15 and the Fears of Texans

Jade Helm 15, according to the Pentagon, is an exercise in which American troops will practice putting down an insurgency. As you can see from the map above, which came from a Pentagon briefing, the revolt is centered in Texas, Utah, and southernmost California, with possible support in New Mexico. Of course there were theories speading among internet conspiracy lovers that this was a plot to impose martial law on the most Republican parts of the country. Nothing new there -- there are dozens of such rumors every week. This one exists in several variants:
The funniest version of the Jade Helm conspiracy comes from the website All News Pipeline, which connected the dots between Jade Helm and the closure of several Texas Walmarts to ask, "Will these massive stores soon be used as 'food distribution centers' and to house the headquarters of invading troops from China, here to disarm Americans one by one as promised by Michelle Obama to the Chinese prior to Obama leaving the White House?"
A reporter actually got Walmart to deny this. But what else would a Walmart spokesman say? Alex Jones, the great maven of more plausible conspiracy theories, has offered the view that while Jade Helm 15 is not actually a takeover plot, it is probably a practice exercise for a takeover plot. I mean, you wouldn't try to seize all the guns in Texas without a few practice runs, would you?

Anyway, Jade Helm 15 was escalated into a Big Brouhaha when Texas governor Greg Abbott tried to allay those suspicions by commenting publicly on them and asking the Texas State Guard to monitor the exercise. As other politicians got involved and also tried to allay suspicions, things got ever worse.

The moral of the story is, never comment on absurd conspiracy theories, because the more vigorously you deny them, the more you feed the suspicions that drive them.

Just out of curiosity, why was it Michelle Obama rather than her husband who invited Chinese troops to take over the country? Never mind, I don't want to know.

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