Selective Service Website Falters Over #WWIII Draft Fears

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(Bloomberg) -- Concerns that Washington may revive the draft to fight a new war in the Middle East spiked after the U.S. killed a top Iranian military leader in a drone strike, taking down the Selective Service System website.

Hashtags such as #WWIII, #WorldWarThree and #WorldWarThreeDraft all trended on Twitter after the U.S. took out Iran’s Qassem Soleimani and announced that it was sending about 2,800 additional troops to the region -- a sudden and dramatic increase in tensions.

The system website crashed because of “the spread of misinformation,” the agency said Friday on Twitter. Pages were loading intermittently on Saturday. Google searches for “draft age” also jumped in the U.S. on Friday.

Separately, the SSS said that in the event a “national emergency necessitates a draft,” Congress would need to pass a law and the president needs to sign to enact it.

The U.S. abolished military conscription in 1973, while the nation was still fighting in Vietnam. Yet all men ages 18 to 25 who are citizens or immigrants living in the U.S. are required by law to provide basic personal information to the SSS, an independent agency that maintains data on those potentially subject to a draft. Citizens must register within 30 days of turning 18.

Separately, a case about the legality of excluding women from any future draft is working its way through the U.S. legal system. Gender-based restrictions on serving in the volunteer military were lifted during the Obama administration.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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