I AM Jade Helm

I grew up in East Texas, running around the woods, camping, hunting and generally getting into trouble. I haven’t been home in a while due to twenty-plus years in the military and now living in South Carolina, but I still have family there. From what they’re telling me, something has clearly changed from my childhood days. Jade Helm, a USASOC Realistic Military Training event, is coming to certain Texas locales, and the population is losing its mind over “sinister” implications. FEMA concentration camps, UN gun-grabbers, and anything else that can be extrapolated, has been. Why? I’ve racked my brain trying to figure out why this exercise has generated such controversy, as it’s truly confusing. How can a state that breaks its arm trying to congratulate veterans, that declared a Chris Kyle day, assume that those same service members they’ve been cheering in the Dallas Airport are now out to enslave the entire state? Truthfully, that’s what really burns me. The men who planned the exercise, and the men who will execute the exercise, are me. Texas, the land I grew up in, is basically saying I – and the men I served with – are willingly planning to round them up and put them into concentration camps. Why? How has the Internet been able to leverage such unfounded paranoia? When did we go from supporting the troops to denigrating them as oppressors?

In the days of my youth I was told what it means to be a man…

Living in Charleston, South Carolina can be a little funny at times.  Today was supposed to be “Snowmageddon”, with a light dusting of the fluffy stuff and the commensurate shutting down of any and all services.  My kids left school early, and we all waited.  By nine pm it hadn’t hit and I had to take the dog for a walk.

Covert Action and Special Operations: Fact and Fantasy

In 2009, right after I finished One Rough Man, legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh claimed that George W. Bush had run an “executive assassination ring” reporting directly to Dick Cheney, which might be continuing to this day under a new administration.  I couldn’t believe it.  The story sounded remarkably like the fictional unit I’d created for my novel.  Given my background, I suppose what I should do is wink and nod, neither confirming nor denying his allegations.  After all, that would be the best for book sales.  “No, the book is fiction,” wink, “and I can’t really talk about what I did…”  What I’m going to do instead is show just how false his reporting is, because it does a disservice to everyone who wears the uniform, and it breeds distrust in both our population and our government.  Hersh dropped his bombshell at an engagement with Walter Mondale at the University of Minnesota.  Speaking with “great confidence”, he said, in part,

“Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving.  That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.  It’s complicated because the guys doing it are not murderers, and yet they are committing what we would normally call murder.  It’s a very complicated issue.  Because they are young men that went into the Special Forces.  The Delta Forces you’ve heard about.  Navy Seal teams.  Highly specialized.”

I’ve already shown in my last blog, Lethal Truth, that self defense isn’t assassination – or murder – but what about this?  Are special operations forces running around the world conducting covert operations without any oversight?

In a word, no.  Not only does it not happen, it would be just about impossible for it to happen, even if the president wanted such an organization.  The story doesn’t surprise me, though, since it isn’t the first time I’ve run afoul of Hersh’s “reporting”.

On October 19, 2001, a special operations force conducted the first ground combat action inside Afghanistan.  Shortly thereafter, Hersh wrote an article entitled “Escape and Evasion” published in the New Yorker, claiming that the entire mission was a fiasco and the forces involved were boiling mad about the Pentagon’s “mismanagement”.  Having a passing familiarity with that operation, I can state unequivocally that the only two accurate items in the story were the fact that Americans were involved and the country was Afghanistan.  The rest is absolute fantasy.  What wasn’t fantasy was the number of people in DC who chose to believe Hersh instead of the military chain of command.