Selective Service website crashes amid concerns over potential draft

In the wake of a U.S. airstrike in Iraq that took out top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Thursday, fretful handwringers in America took to social media with predictions that President Donald Trump’s move would prompt a World War III — and perhaps even the reinstatement of a military draft.

This apparently prompted an influx of traffic to the U.S. Selective Service System’s website; according to Bloomberg, the agency announced Friday that “high traffic” amid panic over a potential draft had caused its website to crash.

Worries of World War III

Late Thursday and into Friday, hashtags like #WWIII, #WorldWarThree, and #WorldWarThreeDraft started trending on Twitter, according to Bloomberg. Google searches about World War III and a potential draft also reportedly spiked on Friday.

Concerns over a draft were apparently spurred by the remarks of countless pundits — and Twitter users — who expressed concern that an all-out war could be on the horizon.

In a tweet Friday, the Selective Service, an independent government organization that collects and maintains records for males between the ages of 18–25 who could be subject to conscription, attributed the traffic spike to the “spread of misinformation.”

Jumping the gun

While it is possible that some particularly patriotic individuals saw Trump’s airstrike and wanted to ensure they were registered and ready, as Mother Jones reported: the site crashed — “and not because people are rushing to enlist.”

“Americans were…worried about more personal implications of the event,” the outlet reported Friday. “So many Americans Googled ‘draft requirements’ and ‘military exemptions’ that the United States Selective Service website crashed.”

But those concerns are a bit premature — at least according to the Selective Service. The agency reiterated in a tweet Friday that the reinstatement of the draft would need to be authorized by Congress and the president; in the meantime, it “is conducting business as usual.”

According to Bloomberg, the military draft was abolished in 1973 during the Vietnam War. It would take Congress passing a law, which would need to be signed by President Trump, for a draft to take effect.

Still, all of the hinges on an assumption that a larger conflict will soon erupt between the U.S. and Iran — a scenario that is anything but guaranteed. What’s more, there’s no indication that the military would need to rapidly train more troops to maintain the edge in the fight.

It looks like the liberals scared of World War III have nothing to be worried about — at least for now.

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