In Bastrop, Texas, many citizens fear that Operation Jade Helm 15 is an Obama-led, U.S. Military invasion against their way of life.
According to The Washington Post, fear of this military exercise began with a map that was released by the military which depicted the area of operations. It showed seven southwestern states colored red for “hostile” (including Texas) and blue for “permissive.” The map caught the imagination of the conspiracy-minded.
At the public hearing to inform citizens about Jade Helm 15 last spring, military spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria explained that the designations on the map are part of a fictional scenario. The exercise was meant to simulate U.S. Special Forces in aiding resistance fighters to bring back democracy to an imaginary country.
Lastoria also answered questions for several hours, explaining that while Jade Helm would involve 1,200 troops across seven states, a maximum of 60 troops would be training in Bastrop County. The Texas operation would only be on military bases and private property that the military had obtained permission to use.
“All service members take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and we put our lives on the line every day to uphold that oath. So for people to come up with irrational ideas and try to associate them with the United States military, it does our troops a disservice,” Lastoria said.
However, the hearing failed to rid some people of their fears.
County Chairman Albert Ellison said, “Obama doesn’t take national threats seriously enough. What he views as alarming instead is conservatism.”
He believes that the Obama administration has acted in bad faith, in using the IRS to attack various conservative groups, singling out gun owners for attack, keeping illegal immigrants from deportation, and stirring up riots in racial situations.
“The Obama administration has a history of attacking Texas on issues from education standards to environmental regulations to Obamacare. It’s not that much of a leap to believe that he would try to employ the military like he does the IRS,” Ellison stated.
Still others in Bastrop worry that Obama wants to initiate martial law to prolong his term as president by cancelling the 2016 presidential elections. Terry Wareham, head of the Bastrop County Tea Party, said she is afraid that the Obama administration might purposefully instigate violence between soldiers and Texans in order to inaugurate martial law.