The latest proof that Operation Jade Helm 15 is a fascist rehearsal of a federal invasion? Beards!

“Spec Ops grows beards,” he said, referring to the photographer’s facial hair. “Y’all got a military ID?”


Scott Eric Kaufman
July 15, 2015 6:37PM (UTC)

The New York Times' Manny Fernandez encountered what is surely the most absurd proof that the Obama administration is using Operation Jade Helm to rehearse a military takeover of Texas -- a bearded photographer.

Fernandez and his bearded companion are in the field reporting on Texans' reactions to the military exercise that commenced today. Some of the people the pair interviewed were capable of commenting on the exercise in an informed, disinterested fashion.

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Case in point, Sindy Miller, who told Fernandez that other people are "worried that they’re going to come in and take their firearms away. Martial law, basically. I try not to listen to all these conspiracy-theory-type people. All they’re worried about is their beer and their guns."

The eight week exercise by the Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and other Special Ops troops will not -- despite Texas Governor Greg Abbott's statements to the contrary -- disrupt the daily life of Texans in any way, shape, or form. The only thing that makes Operation Jade Helm 15 unusual is the scope of the exercise, which will take place over multiple states for longer than the typical off-base joint military exercise.

But many Texans are convinced that the operation is a historically unprecedented event -- so much so that one concerned citizen questioned the credentials of a Times' photographer on account of what is apparently a very suspicious beard.

Scott Degenaer, a 53-year-old Navy veteran who should know better, told Fernandez and his photographer that "with Obama being in there [and] with the way he’s already stomped all over the Constitution, pushing his presidential authority to the max, it would only be just the stroke of a pen for him to do away with that. This man is just totally anti-U.S. I mean, he just signed a deal with Iran."

Degenaer is, apparently, unaware of the fact that Obama is by no means the first United States president to make a deal with Iran -- although unlike Reagan, Obama did so entirely above the board.

But that's neither here nor there, because Degenaer demonstrated the true value of Jade Helm 15 skeptics' opinions shortly thereafter, demanding to see the military identification of the New York Times photographer on account of him having a beard.

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"Spec Ops grows beards," Degenaer said. "Y'all got a military ID."


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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