To hear the conspiracy theorists tell it, a labyrinth of tunnels is being built under Walmart stores for military attacks on civilians, and an orchestrated financial crisis will lead to martial law, U.S. troops patrolling chaotic streets, and a dictatorship under President Barack Obama.
These and similar tales have gained currency in recent months among a small but powerful group of anti-government Texas voters in the run-up to planned military training drills in the West and Southwest, including in the Lone Star state. While such views represent the fringes of American political opinion, they reflect a broader suspicion of the federal government that has run deep in Texas for years. The U.S. Army Special Operations Command exercise, called Jade Helm 15, has brought these fears to a crescendo, particularly in Bastrop. Some of the exercises, scheduled from July 15 to Sept. 15, will be held in this city located east of Austin.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.