Rep. Gohmert dips his toe into the Jade Helm fever swamp

Six years of Barack Obama playing at being president has finally sent some on the right over the edge.  The controversy over the military exercise known as Jade Helm 15 has engulfed not just the usual paranoids; it has actually gone mainstream.  The special forces exercise, designed to train special operators on terrain and in settings they may experience overseas, has somehow been interpreted by some as a possible military takeover of Texas and the imposition of martial law.

The Pentagon is denying any such thing, of course.  But when people begin to doubt the veracity and loyalty of our military, something is horribly, terribly wrong.  Not with the military – with the doubters. 

Now, Rep. Louis Gohmert has entered the fray.  He is apparently not completely buying the military's explanation of a training exercise, pointing to a map of the five states where the training will be conducted. The map marks out "hostile" and "permissive" territory, as well as "uncertain" areas.

Gohmert wants the Pentagon to change some of the designations.

National Journal:

"Over the past few weeks, my office has been inundated with calls referring to the Jade Helm 15 military exercise scheduled to take place between July 15 and September 15, 2015," Gohmert said in a Tuesday statement. "This military practice has some concerned that the U.S. Army is preparing for modern-day martial law. Certainly, I can understand these concerns."

"When leaders within the current administration believe that major threats to the country include those who support the Constitution, are military veterans, or even 'cling to guns or religion,' patriotic Americans have reason to be concerned," Gohmert wrote. 

The congressman took particular issue with the layout and labels of the Pentagon map for the exercise. "Once I observed the map depicting 'hostile,' 'permissive,' and 'uncertain' states and locations, I was rather appalled that the hostile areas amazingly have a Republican majority, 'cling to their guns and religion,' and believe in the sanctity of the United States Constitution." Gohmert called on the Pentagon to change the map, the names on the map, and said "the tone of the exercise needs to be completely revamped so the federal government is not intentionally practicing war against its own states."

he Pentagon has insisted that claims that Jade Helm is anything other than a military exercise—and one that it says would have in-state economic benefits—are completely bunk.

"Jade Helm is a long planned and coordinated exercise," a Pentagon spokesman told CNN. "We are not taking over anything."

But that hasn't quelled concern. In late April, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent an open letter to the Texas State Guard asking it to keep a tight watch on the exercise. "During the training operation," Abbott wrote, "it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights, and civil liberties will not be infringed."

On Monday, Abbott defended the letter, saying that his office is "playing a pivotal role of government and that is to provide information to people who have questions."

If Obama was going to take over Texas, he would send more than the 1,200 special operators and the few thousand regular troops who will be trying to capture them.  This is especially true in a state that's ranked first in gun ownership.

Obama never identified people who "cling to guns and religion" as being a "threat" – just stupid because they didn't vote Democratic.  And the Department of Homeland Security withdrew their circular after a public outcry that identified possible domestic terrorists as military veterans.  Why is Gohmert feeding the paranoia?

If Gohmert wants to be known as the leader of the paranoid faction in the Republican Party, he's doing a damn fine job of it.  But the blame for this nonsense lies with President Obama.  People aren't paranoid in a vacuum.  Not that Obama would be stupid enough to declare martial law for no reason, but that his actions in defiance of Congress and the Constitution over the last six years allow some of our more impressionable – and mentally unbalanced – citizens to believe that anything is possible.

Lots of things may be possible, but martial law for no earthly reason isn't one of them.

Six years of Barack Obama playing at being president has finally sent some on the right over the edge.  The controversy over the military exercise known as Jade Helm 15 has engulfed not just the usual paranoids; it has actually gone mainstream.  The special forces exercise, designed to train special operators on terrain and in settings they may experience overseas, has somehow been interpreted by some as a possible military takeover of Texas and the imposition of martial law.

The Pentagon is denying any such thing, of course.  But when people begin to doubt the veracity and loyalty of our military, something is horribly, terribly wrong.  Not with the military – with the doubters. 

Now, Rep. Louis Gohmert has entered the fray.  He is apparently not completely buying the military's explanation of a training exercise, pointing to a map of the five states where the training will be conducted. The map marks out "hostile" and "permissive" territory, as well as "uncertain" areas.

Gohmert wants the Pentagon to change some of the designations.

National Journal:

"Over the past few weeks, my office has been inundated with calls referring to the Jade Helm 15 military exercise scheduled to take place between July 15 and September 15, 2015," Gohmert said in a Tuesday statement. "This military practice has some concerned that the U.S. Army is preparing for modern-day martial law. Certainly, I can understand these concerns."

"When leaders within the current administration believe that major threats to the country include those who support the Constitution, are military veterans, or even 'cling to guns or religion,' patriotic Americans have reason to be concerned," Gohmert wrote. 

The congressman took particular issue with the layout and labels of the Pentagon map for the exercise. "Once I observed the map depicting 'hostile,' 'permissive,' and 'uncertain' states and locations, I was rather appalled that the hostile areas amazingly have a Republican majority, 'cling to their guns and religion,' and believe in the sanctity of the United States Constitution." Gohmert called on the Pentagon to change the map, the names on the map, and said "the tone of the exercise needs to be completely revamped so the federal government is not intentionally practicing war against its own states."

he Pentagon has insisted that claims that Jade Helm is anything other than a military exercise—and one that it says would have in-state economic benefits—are completely bunk.

"Jade Helm is a long planned and coordinated exercise," a Pentagon spokesman told CNN. "We are not taking over anything."

But that hasn't quelled concern. In late April, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent an open letter to the Texas State Guard asking it to keep a tight watch on the exercise. "During the training operation," Abbott wrote, "it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights, and civil liberties will not be infringed."

On Monday, Abbott defended the letter, saying that his office is "playing a pivotal role of government and that is to provide information to people who have questions."

If Obama was going to take over Texas, he would send more than the 1,200 special operators and the few thousand regular troops who will be trying to capture them.  This is especially true in a state that's ranked first in gun ownership.

Obama never identified people who "cling to guns and religion" as being a "threat" – just stupid because they didn't vote Democratic.  And the Department of Homeland Security withdrew their circular after a public outcry that identified possible domestic terrorists as military veterans.  Why is Gohmert feeding the paranoia?

If Gohmert wants to be known as the leader of the paranoid faction in the Republican Party, he's doing a damn fine job of it.  But the blame for this nonsense lies with President Obama.  People aren't paranoid in a vacuum.  Not that Obama would be stupid enough to declare martial law for no reason, but that his actions in defiance of Congress and the Constitution over the last six years allow some of our more impressionable – and mentally unbalanced – citizens to believe that anything is possible.

Lots of things may be possible, but martial law for no earthly reason isn't one of them.