Mainstream statists are yucking it up over the so-called paranoia of Texas citizens who are concerned about the U.S. military’s giant training exercise in the Southwest called Operation Jade Helm. “Yuck, yuck,” the statists are exclaiming. “Those paranoid Texans!”
The statist idea, of course, is that the military is our friend — our protector — our god. The military establishment (and the CIA and NSA) keep us safe and secure from the terrorists, the communists, the drug dealers, the illegal aliens, and other scary creatures. Without the military, we’d be speaking German, Russian, terrorist, Korean, Vietnamese, or communist. The military would never do anything bad to the American people.
Well, you’d have an awfully hard time convincing Americans of Japanese, German, and Italian descent of that. Think back to World War II, when the U.S. military, dutifully following orders, rounded up not only Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants but also American citizens of Japanese, German, and Italian descent and placed them in well-guarded concentration camps.
Yes, I said both immigrants and citizens. Immigrants — people who had left their country of origin to come to America. Nonetheless, they were treated as criminals for having immigrated from a country with whom the United States was now at war.
And just think: American citizens. Jailed for years in concentration camps, having committed no crime whatsoever either.
The discomforting fact is that the U.S. military’s round-up and incarceration of thousands of innocent people in concentration camps here in the United States was no different in principle from the round-ups and incarcerations of millions of innocent people in Europe at the hands of the Nazis.
Isn’t that ironic? They tell us that the “good war” was about fighting for freedom. Really? You’d have a hard time convincing the innocent Japanese Americans, German-Americans, and Italian-Americans, and the people who immigrated here, who were incarcerated in U.S. concentration camps of that.
There is more irony. Many of the Japanese immigrants who were incarcerated had children who were U.S. citizens fighting in the U.S. Armed Forces. At least U.S. officials permitted them to visit with their parents in the U.S. concentration camps when on leave from military duty.
Even more irony. Although many of the children of immigrants were U.S. citizens, they were also forced to remain incarcerated too.
A fascinating book, published this year, about one particular U.S. concentration camp is The Train to Crystal City: FDR’s Secret Prison Exchange Program and America’s Only Family Internment Camp During World War II, which follows the lives of particular families who were incarcerated there. It is a story of tragedy and horror, especially for families who were traded for American prisoners in Japan and Germany.
Yes, I said “traded.” What U.S. officials would say to concentration camp prisoners is this: We will let your wife and children come stay with you in this concentration camp if you will agree to let us repatriate you to Germany or Japan. Many of the prisoners, not surprisingly, took the deal, especially since the wives were having a terribly difficult time raising their small children alone.U.S. officials would use these particular families as trade bait, offering to trade them for an equal number of American prisoners over there. Imagine the horror of these families when they arrived in Germany or Japan near the end of the war—especially for U.S. born children who could not speak the language well.
In fact, U.S. officials even orchestrated the foreign kidnapping of German and Japanese immigrants in Latin America and their rendition to the United States in order to enlarge the pool of trade bait.
Could it happen it again? Of course, and it’s a virtual certainty that it would. For one thing, in one of its most shameful and cowardly acts, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Nazi-like incarceration of all these innocent people, and that decision has never been overturned. It is still the law of the land.
In the midst of a real war, what are the chances that the Supreme Court is going to stand up the Pentagon and the CIA? Nil. After all, if they wouldn’t stand up to them with respect to things like torture, undeclared wars, secret surveillance schemes, and other programs that are inherent to totalitarian regimes during the U.S. government’s much-vaunted “war on terrorism,” there is no reasonable possibility they would stand up to them on concentration camps, round-ups, and incarcerations in the midst of a real war.
Of course, statists would say, “Jacob that was a long time ago. Our military would never do that again.”
Really? How about what happened in Chile in 1973? The Pentagon and the CIA worked together to bring into existence one of the most brutal military dictatorships in history, one in which the military conducted a real-life Jade Helm operation, by sweeping across the country, rounding up their own citizens, incarcerating them in concentration camps, torturing and raping them, and even executing them.
And all the victims were all innocent — as innocent as Hitler’s victims were. Their only “crime”: believing in socialism or communism.
“But Jacob, that wasn’t our military that conducted that real-life Jade Helm operation. That was the Chilean military,” statists would exclaim.
Except for the fact that the U.S. military brought about the coup in Chile, knowing full well what military dictatorships do to establish “order and stability.” Equally important, the Pentagon, the CIA, the president, and the entire national-security establishment were ecstatic over what Gen. Pinochet and his goons were doing to rid Chile of everyone who believed in communism and socialism. Moreover, U.S. officials immediately began flooding Pinochet’s tyrannical apparatus with U.S. taxpayer money in order to help him accomplish what he was doing.
In fact, the U.S. national-security establishment even used Pinochet’s brutal military apparatus to murder two innocent American men, Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi. Not surprisingly, those two murders have never been investigated or prosecuted by the Justice Department or Congress — no doubt because to do so would cross a red line for the Pentagon and the CIA.
Still too long ago?
Well, how about Egypt today? Round-ups, incarcerations, torture, kangaroo tribunals, suppression of dissent, and executions at the hands of a military dictatorship that is no different in principle from the Pinochet dictatorship. And it’s all being done with the support and approval of U.S. officials, including the Pentagon and the CIA, who continue to refortify the dictatorship with weaponry, bullets, tanks, planes, equipment, and money.
America’s Founding Fathers had it right and American statists have it wrong with respect to the dangers of standing armies. As history has proved time and again, the biggest threat to the freedom and well-being of a citizenry lies with standing armies.
Texans are wise to be concerned about Operation Jade Helm. Any people who value a free society would be concerned about such an exercise, not to mention the existence of the gigantic military force that is engaged in such an operation.
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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