Washington, DC – Panicked millennials caused the U.S. government’s Selective Service Administration’s website to crash on Friday, just hours after President Donald Trump announced a successful airstrike targeting a senior Iranian military official near Baghdad airport.
The crash was largely due to social media rumors that the airstrike had launched World War 3 and that students who had enrolled for federal student loans had automatically been signed up for the draft, CBS News reported.
“The Selective Service System is conducting business as usual. In the event that a national emergency necessitates a draft, Congress and the President would need to pass official legislation to authorize a draft,” the Selective Service System tweeted on Friday morning.
“Due to the spread of misinformation, our website is experiencing high traffic volumes at this time. If you are attempting to register or verify registration, please check back later today as we are working to resolve this issue. We appreciate your patience,” they added in a second tweet a few minutes later.
The Federal Student Aid Office also jumped in to help the thousands of people tweeting their concerns under a variety of trending World War 3-related hashtags and attempted to educate the Twitter-verse on how the draft actually works.
“We know there are questions on this…registering with Selective Service has been a longstanding requirement to receive federal student aid/a federal job. However, the U.S. military has been all-volunteer since 1973 & Congress would need to pass a new law to institute a draft,” @FAFSA tweeted late on Friday afternoon.
“There is no priority order for Selective Service based on the FAFSA form (they use a random lottery number and year of birth),” they added, and provided a link to more information on the Selective Service Administration’s website.
It appeared that numerous American millennials did not understand that the current U.S. military is entirely voluntary and that there is no current draft, The Guardian reported.
Many didn’t know last draft ended in 1973, at the end of the Vietnam War, and also clearly did not know that conscription couldn’t be initiated again without an act of Congress.
All American men between the ages of 18 and 25 are required to register with the Selective Service Administration, according to Business Insider.
That agency maintains a list of eligible men who could be called upon to help protect the nation and serve in the United States military, should Congress vote to institute a draft.
Women are not currently required to register for the draft, but that may change. A federal judge ruled in February of 2019 that a males-only draft was discriminatory, NPR reported.
The military has been studying if and how to include women in the Selective Service enrollment.
But regardless of whether the United States actually goes to war with Iran, it is unlikely that the draft will be revived, according to Business Insider.
Multiple studies in recent years have shown that support for a draft has dropped dramatically since the Vietnam War and that only about 20 percent of Americans now approve of it.
The Pentagon estimated that more than 70 percent of the people in the 18-to-25 age bracket would be ineligible to serve in the military if drafted because of criminal records, obesity, and not having a high school diploma, Business Insider reported.