The summer of right-wing paranoia fizzles out: Operation Jade Helm 15 concludes with nary a military coup

Alex Jones had been warning for month of nefarious government takeovers. Will he now change his tune? Fat chance.

Published September 15, 2015 8:15PM (EDT)

  (Reuters/Jim Bourg)
(Reuters/Jim Bourg)

The Pentagon's Jade Helm 15 military training exercises wrapped up on Tuesday, and here's a shocker: Conspiracy theory goons like Alex Jones were wrong. Again.

Naturally, there wasn't a takeover of either Texas or the broader southwest, nor were there military personnel and vehicles parading through the streets of various towns desensitizing citizens to the idea of a slowly boiling military presence, eventually leading to martial law, for some opaque reason that Jones and the others have failed to elaborate upon.

If you happen to live in Texas, the ambient noise you most often heard every night throughout the course of Jade Helm were crickets chirping -- definitely not the sound of U.S. Army Special Operations Command troops (who, by the way, I thought we were supposed to support) marching through your town, implementing Obamacare, pardoning undocumented workers and replacing the Constitution with Sharia Law. But don't hold your breath waiting for Alex Jones or Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to concede they were horribly wrong about the whole thing.

For Jones' part, his ridiculous prediction of a bloody civil war never occurred. That prediction, made earlier this summer, went as follows:

"[The government] needs the police and the military to wipe out the liberty movement, and we wipe them out. [...] I estimate in the civil war, 300,000 police will die. I estimate that if the military marches out against the gun owners, half a million dead. Two million dead on the side of the patriots. Won’t matter, we’ll have another 10 million where that came from. But it’ll be a real war once they start it."

Of course, Jones will spin and revise the lack of an invasion to suit his agenda. He'll weave breathless, gravelly-voiced yarns about how the military has disappeared underground, perhaps hiding in abandoned Walmart stores until the "patriots" in the "liberty movement" let their guard down. Then, when they least expect it: Boom! Martial law. In fact, it'd be well within Jones' style to simply tell his people that Jade Helm is an ongoing black-op and that we can't truly know whether the military has redeployed from the so-called occupied areas. As he likes to say: He has the documents to prove it. (Never mind that his documentary evidence is usually just printed blog entries from InfoWars.)

It's worth noting that Jones has already segued to another world-ending crisis. He recently published a video in which he announced, literally as breaking news, that the "global meltdown is underway." He went on: "This is a total emergency alert. Get yourself and your family ready defensively and offensively, get out there out there and warn people."

His reasoning? According to Jones, the inciting incidents ranged from the temporary drop in the stock market to a particularly hilarious chunk of nonsense about globalists evacuating their homes. Not surprisingly, Jones announced the previous global meltdown back in June, which clearly didn't happen. But, chances are, there will be a global meltdown every few months. Why? Because his disciples are so utterly paranoid, and Jones is so effective at manipulating them, that they'll simply not care that he's always wrong about the meltdown. It's like the various televangelists who routinely predict the exact date of the End Times, then invariably extend the deadline when it predictably fails to happen.

The question now is whether Governor Abbott will once again follow Jones' lead and deploy the Texas state guard in preparation for the meltdown. Because he's so serious.

This brings us to the big take-away from the whole Jade Helm: With the end of the exercises, the mainstreaming of insane conspiracy theories within the establishment Republican Party is complete.

Let's review some other highlights from the Jade Helm freakout:

  • Abbott's fellow Texan Ted Cruz unsurprisingly sympathized with concerned paranoiacs: "I understand the reason for concern and uncertainty, because when the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in this administration, the natural consequence is that many citizens don’t trust what it is saying."
  • Texan and former GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry likewise warned that "crazy things are happening right now."
  • Then there was the dumbest man in Congress, Louie Gohmert, who said, "When my own commander-in-chief through his subordinates is just fine with, for games purposes, declaring an enemy of two or more of your states, I got a real problem with that." There's no gray area there. Gohmert believed that President Obama declared Texas, Nevada and California enemy states. Again, it's important to emphasize that Gohmert is one of 535 elite Americans who gets to introduce and vote upon legislation that affects the entire country and beyond.

There's something frighteningly poetic that the GOP's embracing of the Jade Helm conspiracy theory occurred during the same summer in which famous birther Donald Trump rose to become the de facto leader of the party and its presidential primary frontrunner. Meanwhile, the party also embraced the falsified evidence against Planned Parenthood, amounting to yet another conspiracy theory. These three events are likely the biggest stories to be associated with the GOP -- not just from the Summer but the entire year, and it's a trend that would've otherwise banished the Republican Party into loony third-party status were it not for the planetoid-sized wads of cash it collects from the super-wealthy, not to mention an uncritical traditional news media that refuses to highlight the GOP's descent into madness.

That being said, there's no way of knowing whether this is merely symptomatic of Obama Derangement Syndrome or if it's a lasting featuring of the party beyond January 2017. But if Hillary Clinton makes it through the next six months as the Democratic frontrunner, the conspiracy-mongering is sure to worsen, as most of us who remember the 1990s can confirm.

Texas 'Jade Helm' Conspiracy Theory Splits Politicians

By Bob Cesca

Bob Cesca is a regular contributor to Salon. He's also the host of "The Bob Cesca Show" podcast, and a weekly guest on both the "Stephanie Miller Show" and "Tell Me Everything with John Fugelsang." Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Contribute through LaterPay to support Bob's Salon articles -- all money donated goes directly to the writer.


Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Alex Jones Aol_on Conspiracy Theory Greg Abbott Operation Jade Helm 15