The Pentagon's Response to Ted Cruz Regarding Jade Helm 15

05/10/2015 08:54 am ET | Updated May 10, 2016

Recently, Senator Ted Cruz from Texas asked the Pentagon to clarify its intentions with military exercises in Central Texas called "Jade Helm 15." The Pentagon's response follows:

Dear Senator Cruz:

Thank you for your inquiry into whether the Jade Helm 15 military exercise is the first wave of a federal takeover of Texas, the Trojan Horse, as it were, of the end of sovereignty in the Lone Star State. Our response, contrary to the long tradition of official correspondence and military bureaucracy, is concise: no.

But that's just what you would expect us to say, isn't it?

Perhaps, then, you would prefer not an official proclamation but a reasoned answer. As a master debater in college (Princeton, right?), you surely appreciate the reliability of logic, your public statements over the past few years notwithstanding. If you are disinclined to take the United States Armed Forces at their word when we promise no ill intentions towards Texas, then perhaps your considerable and vaunted intellectual powers, which once posited the regrowth of hymens as a guard against unauthorized incursions in domestic affairs, could be swayed by incontrovertible fact.

I know you think highly of our capabilities. Why else would you advocate for a short war with Iran? If we are indeed that powerful, we could probably launch an attack from any of the 15 U.S. military bases already within Texas' borders. While Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher may have found it necessary, even attractive, to invade countries that can easily be overrun, the present DoD considers such lopsided contests at best unsporting.

As someone who was not born within the borders of this country, it might interest you to know that Texas is already part of the United States. In fact, Texas has twice joined the Union. The first time your adopted state joined the USA in 1845 it set in motion events that led to the Mexican-American War. Later, when Union troops conquered the Southern rebellion, Texas rejoined the Union. It is not, therefore, farfetched to think that Texas' relationship to the rest of the United States could involve war, but please also keep in mind that when we refer to the United States of America, Texas is being implicitly included. We thought about calling it the United States of America and Texas, but we were afraid people might think Texas was a retrograde backwater of reactionary lunatics who think Moses was a Founding Father and laugh at you. This is way better.

Please also consider there are a great many things about Texas and Texan culture that could be threatened by another unnecessary armed conflict between Texas and the United States. We like Texas barbecue. That Green Beret who carried the flag out for the Texas Longhorn football team? That was pretty cool. The wildflowers along the highways are no joke. The late Texan Chris Kyle, the "American sniper," is a hero to many. Texas gave the world Lyndon Johnson, a staggering gift for which America was perhaps not entirely prepared. Without the Lone Star State, the Western swing band Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys would have appeared under the performing name Robert Wills and His Playboys, which is ghastly, or not have existed at all, a possibility that DoD has officially classified as "too awful to contemplate". And we really dig the self-awareness, the love of self that, while occasionally metastasizing into paranoid delusions such as those that motivated your original query, also make Texas a culture with an indelible sense of place.

But, we reiterate, that place is in the United States. On previous visits, we noticed that many of your residents enjoy Social Security and Medicare (you're welcome), volunteer for the armed services, treasure federal parks, wildlife preserves, and wilderness areas, and earn and spend currency backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. With a quick Internet search, I also learned that nearly a third of Texas' total revenue is from Federal funding. In fact, millions of your schoolchildren pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America almost every day. And unlike yourself, they apparently mean it.

There is a fundamental misapprehension that we feel is at the root of your query about our intentions was revealed in a recent comment you made to the press.

We are assured it is a military training exercise. I have no reason to doubt those assurances, but I understand the reason for concern and uncertainty, because when the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in this administration, the natural consequence is that many citizens don't trust what it is saying.

If, Senator Cruz, you believe that the United States military is a political tool of its civilian leadership, you have reached a conclusion unsupported by fact, history and good sense. The troops swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States. To besmirch their loyalty to the country, even in the service of making hackneyed political points in the Republican primary, does not make you a patriot, but a partisan. Even a Princeton and Harvard Law man should know the difference.

Also, it makes you the rudest Canadian we've ever run across.

Sincerely Yours,

Secretary Ashton Carter

Note: This is not actually a letter from the Secretary of Defense and is, in fact, the work of those under whose bylines it ran. Secretary Carter is much funnier.