Jade Helm and the Second Battle of Bastrop
Attention, Alex Jones! Attention, Governor Greg Abbott! The federal government has placed 90,000 Army troops just north of Killeen with tanks. If those tanks start to roll, they can be in the capital city of Texas within two hours.
But, wait! There are another 90,000 U.S. military personnel in San Antonio de Bexar. Somehow, I don’t think they’re about to hand over the keys to the armory as U.S. Major General David E. Twiggs did on February 8, 1861, when Ben McCulloch showed up with the Texas militia. (You know Ben McCulloch. He’s the guy with the camp named after him near The Salt Lick barbecue.)
Heavens! There’s 30,000 more U.S. military personnel way out west in El Paso. Remember the 1960s thriller movie about a possible military coup d’état, Seven Days in May? Some forces in El Paso are key to the plot, and their commander is in the dark about why they are training: “We seem to spend more time training for seizure than for prevention, like the Commies already had the stuff, and we had to get it back.”
The State of Texas is surrounded by federal troops, but the black helicopter crowd is worried the takeover is starting disguised as the military training exercise Jade Helm 15 at the Walmart in Bastrop?
Bastrop has been under siege by federal forces before; of course. They were Mexican federals and the year was 1836. Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad! Remember Bastrop? Nope. And Bastrop defender Noah Smithwick tells us why:
One morning we woke up and saw the Mexicans, six hundred strong, on the opposite side of the river, they having captured our boat. We didn’t ‘stand on the order’ of our going, but went at once and in such a hurry that we came near to leaving the sentry, old Jimmy Curtice, on duty. We had got away when I happened to think of him, and rushing up to Major Williamson, said: “You ain’t going to leave Uncle Jimmie on guard, are you, Major?”
“Good God! No; ride back and tell the old man to come on.” I galloped back and found Uncle Jimmie sitting leaning against a tree, with a bottle of whisky beside him, as happy and unconscious of danger as a turtle on a log. “Hello, Uncle Jimmie,” I cried, “Mount and ride for your life. The Mexicans are on the other side and our men all gone.” “The hell they are! ‘Light and take a drink.” “There’s no time for drinking. Come – mount and let’s be off. The Mexicans may swim the river and be after us at any moment.” “Let’s drink to their confusion,” he persisted, and, thinking it the quickest way to start him, I drank with him and we struck out.
“Well, we can say one thing; we were the last men to leave,” said he, not in the least disturbed.”
Thus ended the First Battle of Bastrop.
Here we are 179 years later at the Second Battle of Bastrop, with a froth of paranoia whipped up by Alex Jones and his Infowars web site. And Governor Abbott has dispatched portions of the unarmed Texas State Guard to “monitor” the federal military forces as they conduct part of their multi-state Jade Helm 15 exercise in Bastrop this summer. Infowars has rushed to Abbott’s defense against a skeptical news media.
The volley of negative press coverage arrived in response to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s perfectly rational announcement that Texas State Guard would monitor the drill to allay the concerns of residents and ensure that constitutional rights were not violated.
Infowars was particularly snarky in its assessment of coverage by our capital city newspaper.
In an Austin-American Statesman article which virtually no one read (it has just three comments at time of press), Jonathan Tilove throws the kitchen sink at Alex Jones, conflating “paranoia” about Jade Helm with issues like the presidential candidacy of Senator Rand Paul and even Infowars product advertisements that feature at the end of all our YouTube videos.
Perhaps Tilove did over-react. I mean, it is pretty easy to misread that Infowars headline, Feds Preparing To Invade Texas, List State As ‘Hostile.” As the Infowars story says:
A leaked 2012 US Army Military Police training manual, entitled “Civil Disturbance Operations,” described how soldiers would be ordered to confiscate firearms and kill American “dissidents.” The manual also revealed that prisoners would be detained in temporary internment camps and “re-educated” to gain a new appreciation of “U.S. policies,” in accordance with U.S. Army FM 3-19.40 Internment/Resettlement Operations.
Also in 2012, a Department of Homeland Security-funded study characterized Americans “suspicious of centralized federal authority,” and “reverent of individual liberty” as “extreme right-wing” terrorists.
Sorry, Alex. Sorry, Governor Abbott. If the U.S. military wanted to take over Texas, it could be done so in half a day right now without the guise of a training exercise in Bastrop. Those who say Abbott is feeding a state of paranoia by tasking state guardsmen to monitor Jade Helm are correct.
Former Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, in an op-ed that appeared in The Dallas Morning News, wrote that Texans are doing the military a disservice by casting aspersions on them. Dewhurst was an Air Force intelligence officer in Vietnam and later served in the CIA in South America. Members of the military, he said, should be treated as patriots, not plotters.
They love their country and they’re willing to die to defend your liberties. Unfortunately, some Texans have projected their legitimate concerns about the competence and trustworthiness of President Barack Obama onto these noble warriors.
This must stop. As a veteran of the Vietnam era, I remember too well a climate where troops who had bravely served were met with insults and derision when they came home. It has taken our country decades to change that, and a small but vocal contingent of Texans who would call themselves patriotic are on the verge of ushering that mindset back into vogue. I am furious at the thought, and every right-minded Texan should be as well.
If Texans want to be paranoid of government intervention in our lives, they should worry about that National Security Agency-style computer at the Texas Department of Public Safety that scoops up all sorts of data on every Texan. They should worry that several police departments in Texas have a device called StingRay that can collect mobile phone calls at random. They should worry about the license plate scanners that can track vehicles from one location to another. Then what about the rumors that DPS troopers are pulling over drivers in the Lower Rio Grande Valley on minor infractions as part of the border security efforts? Texas state government is far closer to creating a police state than Jade Helm ever will be.
Governor Abbott, as the Texas commander in chief, it is time to tell the Texas State Guard to stand down when it comes to Jade Helm.