The future may be uncertain, but the present is clear. Presently, there is no military draft in the United States—even if TikTok told you otherwise.
The Selective Service System, the government agency that retains mandatory registration information on U.S. men for possible conscription, tweeted today that its website was “experiencing high traffic volumes” due to “misinformation.” As of Friday evening, the site was loading at a snail’s pace.
The Selective Service hasn’t responded to our inquiries about what “misinformation” the agency was referring to, but memes on the subject aren’t hard to find. Jokes about a potential draft for World War III have been spreading on TikTok in the hours since the U.S. assassinated Iranian Major General Qassim Suleimani in a drone strike early Friday morning.
For clarification, all men between the ages of 18 and 25 in the U.S. are legally required to register with the Selective Service System, but the draft was ended after Vietnam. Congress would have to pass a law to change that. Earlier today, the Selective Service’s Twitter account reminded followers that a draft would need to be authorized legislatively by both Congress and President Trump.
Congress is divided. Republicans are celebrating Suleimani’s death as a victory while Democrats worry that the attack will lead to war. President Trump did not consult Congress before ordering the attack.
Hours after the assassination, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei officially vowed to exact “a forceful revenge” upon the U.S. “[Suleimani’s] departure to God does not end his path or his mission, but a forceful revenge awaits the criminals who have his blood and the blood of the other martyrs last night on their hands,” Khamenei said, according to the New York Times.
Iraq’s Iran-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah also warned the U.S. of “grave consequences.”
Following Khamenei’s statement, the Pentagon announced that it would be sending 3,500 additional troops to the Middle East. The New York Times reports that the Pentagon was already preparing to send 4,000 troops to Kuwait, which a Department of Defense official called “an appropriate and precautionary action in response to increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities.” That 4,000 will join 750 soldiers already on the ground, and a Special Operations unit reportedly left the U.S. for the Middle East around the time of the assassination.
The U.S. State Department has urged Americans in Iraq to leave the country and avoid the U.S. Embassy. Former deputy CIA director Michael Morell told “CBS This Morning” that American civilians based in the Middle East will die as a result of the attack.
#WorldWarThree is trending. People are lol-ing about bone spurs.
Read more on last night’s events here.