If you haven't heard of the paranoia fest known as Jade Helm 15 yet, yesterday's announcement from the Pentagon might seem a little weird: It swears it doesn't plan to take over Texas and impose martial law. A spokesman felt compelled to officially tamp down those rumors, explaining that Jade Helm is a military exercise that "poses no threat to any American's civil liberties," reports Politico. From July 15 to Sept. 15, thousands of troops will converge on the Southwest for the massive exercise, which has spawned all kinds of colorful conspiracy theories. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott didn't exactly suppress the concerns by ordering the Texas State Guard to keep an eye on things to safeguard the "constitutional rights" of Texans.
And today, Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas demanded that the Pentagon change the map being used for the exercise, which shows Texas shaded in red to designate "hostile" territory, reports Talking Points Memo. "The tone of the exercise needs to be completely revamped so the federal government is not intentionally practicing war against its own states," he explains. A fellow Republican, who just happens to be chair of the House Armed Services panel, has a different view: "These are incredibly capable, patriotic Americans, and the notion that they're going to be some sort of private army for the president to take away all our guns is just silly," Rep. Mac Thornberry tells the Dallas Morning News.