Explaining Jade Helm 15

ABC's David Wright takes a look at the planned military exercise and the conspiracy theories surrounding it.
6:36 | 05/10/15

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Transcript for Explaining Jade Helm 15
Now to a texas-sized conspiracy theory sparking headlines across the country, including this week in the "New York times." The theory, that an upcoming Pentagon training exercise is actually part of a plan to impose martial law. To many it's far-fetched but not to some of the top politicians in the lone star state. Here's ABC's David Wright. ? Mamas tell all your babies don't mess with Texas ? Reporter: From Willie Nelson on down it's practically the slogan of the state. ? Don't mess with Texas ? Reporter: That may explain the reaction to jade helm 15, a multi-state training exercise for U.S. Special forces planned this summer for the southwest. Talk show host Alex Jones among the many stirring up concerns on conservative websites and social media that jade helm is a Trojan horse for a federal invasion, a dress rehearsal for martial law. This is in preparation for the financial collapse and maybe even Obama not leaving office. I'm telling you this is so huge. Reporter: Never mind the Pentagon's reassurance. To the contrary. Is the U.S. Military planning to overtake Texas? No. We want to make sure that our guys are trained for combat overseas. Reporter: At a town hall meeting in central Texas, this lieutenant colonel got an earful. It's preparation for martial law? Not a preparation for martial law. That's what you say. Reporter: Remember the Alamo? Texas does, only in this remake those wouldn't be Santa Ana troops March malling in the desert. Texas politicians have added fuel to the fire by taking those concerns seriously. I understand the concern that's been raised by a lot of citizens about jade helm. I think part of the reason is we have seen for six years a federal government disrespecting the liberty of the citizens. Reporter: Last week Texas governor Greg Abbott called up the Texas state guard to monitor U.S. Troops and protect the constitutional rights of texans, drawing this wise crack from Jon Stewart. Oh, dear lord. In other ways Texas funds could have been spent on actual threats like your infamous chain saw massacres. Reporter: But in the lone star state, plenty of people are worried, now telling Washington -- ? don't mess with Texas ? Reporter: David Wright, ABC news, New York. Our thanks to David. Ray talk show host Alex Jones who as David said has been one of the leading proponents of this career had agreed to join us this morning but he did not show up at our studio. Let's bring back the roundtable to weigh in on this. This has real legs, this story, and it certainly had to do with Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz talking about it. Rich? They're pandering to a vocal minority. I'm all in favor of a healthy distrust of the government but not paranoia. There are many threats to our liberty, the U.S. Military isn't one of them. Federal controlled Texas was established in the mid 19th century by president Polk. The idea that they're going to retake Texas is nonsense. I would agree with that wholeheartedly but really, why did they talk about it? Why did Ted Cruz or Greg Abbott talk about -- You're allowed to talk about whatever you like. Free speech is a great thing but then there's this shouting fire in a crowded theatre idea which you're not allowed to do. Then there's this idea that people on the internet and who can get instant soap boxes around the world can make things seem credible and that's where leadership kicks in. If you're a senator or a governor, it's your job to hose the fire down, not ignite it. Greta, one of the things I was going to ask Alex Jones, you heard general Chiarelli, you know the military installations across the country are raising their alert level. There seems to be an element of danger to this for the military if you start telling people they're about to take over. Whatever happened to the telephone? Why in the world isn't governor Abbott speaking with the Pentagon, the Pentagon speaking with the governor? How we let things deteriorate in this country that everyone goes to the internet and goes basically wild. It's a lot because our leaders are not showing a whole lot of leadership and giving instruction to the American people. This was -- when I was on the air I got a million e-mails about this like that Texas was somehow under siege or something. It was pretty crazy. The problem is I do fault our leaders. They're supposed to lead. They could have picked up the phone and headed this one off at the pass a long time ago but they don't. Which leaders? The democrats, the republicans, the governors in the Pentagon, the president and the hill. Many of these problems that we have is because nobody is talking to anybody. You saw in the piece they tried to shut this down. This was long after we were deep into it. That's the problem. Often many of these problems, they don't start talking until we're deep. They don't try to head things off at the pass. Our leaders don't talk to each other enough so of course the citizens have wild imaginations as a consequence. Jamelle? I think this could be stopped by talking, too. But judging by the reaction, president Obama explained that this was not a takeover of Texas, do you think that some of these ordinary citizens would say oh, yeah we're going to trust Obama. I don't think this started now. I think that this -- part of what rich was talking about which is healthy for the country but a lot of this has been going on for quite some time and it's because -- this has been going on decades, a declining amount of our leaders talking to each other and communicating effectively with the American people. Jamelle? I both agree and I think this paranoia and conspiracy monerring would have happened regardless of any of that. A lot of folks have an inherit distrust of the federal government and of president Obama in particular. I'm not sure how much you could have done to preempt or preclude this reaction. Rich, are we going to see more of this? I think we're going to see more distrust as the election ramps up. We've always seen distrust on both sides. Of the military? I don't see liberals worried about military takeovers. Look at the left. They have the anti-vaccers, unscientific fears about nuclear power. During the bush administration someone wrote a book about how bush was preparing for a fascist takeover of this country. There's a distrust of government on both sides. It just takes different forms. I agree with him on that.

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