If you follow this blog, you know I have been AWOL for a few weeks. I do apologize for the absence but I have been busy dealing with a variety of things that required my undivided attention. There is so much going on in the world right now that it is impossible to keep up with the ever-changing news feeds that cross my screen on a daily basis. But, by far, the most commonly referenced occurrence lately has been JADE HELM 15 – the large-scale military training exercise taking place across much of the western United States this summer. If you haven’t been following the mind-numbing conspiratard onslaught, do yourself a favor and… don’t. Just… don’t. You may die. Your brain could literally just… fall out. I think mine did so earlier today.
In a nutshell, for those with no desire to do research, Jade Helm is a large military training exercise involving the special operations community. They created a fictional scenario, created operational plans, and will go through the motions of implementing those imaginary plans against imaginary foes under imaginary circumstances.
The military does this every day. Every Damn Day. The only difference is that a large portion of this year’s exercise will take place outside of recognized military training centers. The military is off the reservation and we all know what that means – Martial Law. Yep, I had the same reaction. Well, I mean, if you just hit yourself in the head with something brick-like in order to force the stupid from your memory, then… You know… we had the same reaction.
I cannot even begin to reference the cornucopia of conspiratel (the amazing intelligence gathering capabilities of the internet’s finest conspiracy theorists) because there is simply too much of it. I won’t even copy and paste any of the very creative comments one could find with relative ease on Facebook and Twitter. What I will do is provide you with a simple reality check.
“THIS TRAINING SUCKS! WE NEVER HAVE REALISTIC TRAINING.”
If you are a veteran of the armed forces, you have probably made the above statement. As a former military instructor, I know I have made the above statement on probably hundreds of occasions. Some of it is just random soldier gripes but mostly we say it because it is absolutely true. So, now, when the military gets its collective shit together to provide some realistic training to our warfighters, we’re going to criticize them for it? Makes perfect sense in 21st Century America.
The military has a long-standing tradition of training to win the last war. They don’t seem to realize that new enemies emerge in new environments until we are several years into a war with them. “They aren’t training to fight third world goat herders! They are training to fight Americans!” This is a common thread among the internet discussions. Let me tell you a secret. Keep this quiet, If you don’t mind.
I participated in large-scale military training exercises in multiple decades between the 80s and 2012. Want to know when I was trained to fight third world goat herders? Somewhere around 2009, after experienced warfighters returned from their combat experiences and became instructors at various military schools. Until then, we were still training under doctrine designed to defeat the Viet Cong or the Russians. I think we need to dust off the old Russian doctrines and put them to use again but that is a topic for another day.
Are there really people out there who believe that we will never have to face an enemy who may be as civilized and advanced as our own society? Do they think every war we fight will be in a desolate, moon-like landscape where people are illiterate and live without indoor plumbing? Have they forgotten that in WWII we faced an enemy that was actually slightly more advanced than we were? Do they not believe that could happen again?
Our troops have to be able to face any conceivable threat. They have to train for potential future wars as well as previous wars that may flare up again… and again… and again. We are criticizing the military for doing exactly what it should be doing and exactly what we WANT them to be doing. Look around the world today. What do you see? Peace? Love? Charity?
I see war. And more war. And some of them are going to occur in cities much like our own. The possibility also exists that war could occur, not in cities LIKE our own, but IN OUR OWN. Transnational terrorism knows no boundaries. The next firefight in the next war could be on the streets of Laredo, Texas, or Seattle, Washington, or Cleveland, Ohio. I want our police and military personnel to be trained for that possibility. You should too. If you don’t think it IS a possibility, then your brain has already fallen out. Go look for it. Dust it off and put it back in your skull. Then stop being an idiot.