Qasem Soleimani is not Franz Ferdinand — the Austrian Archduke whose assassination sparked World War I — but Americans are worried the Iranian general’s death in a U.S. airstrike on Jan 2 could spark a broader war.
Following news of the Iranian commander’s death World War III began trending on social media and crashed the Selective Service website, where Americans who are eligible for the draft go to register.
“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,” the Selective Service tweeted Friday.
The draft was abolished in 1973, but men 18 and older still register for the possibility of conscription in the U.S. military.
The Selective Service says it would require Congress and the president to pass and sign legislation to authorize a draft in the event a national emergency constituted the need to conscript eligible American citizens into the military.
“We post daily to social media as part of our mission to inform men about their requirement to register and let others know about the opportunity to serve as a local board member, along with other pertinent information,” the Selective Service tweeted Friday.
The Quds Force commander has been among America’s top adversaries in recent years helping sow discontent and instability across the Middle East for years, but his death is unlikely to precipitate a global conflict.
Trump threatened Iran Saturday that the U.S. was targeting 52 Iranian sites if Tehran decided to retaliate for the U.S. airstrike that killed its revered commander.
Iranian politicians and military leaders have called for revenge following the Quds Force commander’s death.
The Iraqi government also condemned the U.S. strike and is now considering legislative action to end the strategic agreement that authorizes U.S. troops to remain in the country.
The U.S. has deployed a brigade of paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne as tensions with Iran continue to mount.
While the U.S. and Iran are moving closer to war, a conflict between the two would likely remain regional.
Iran is known to use asymmetry and proxy militia forces across the Middle East in its conflict with the United States.
But not everyone is worried World War III is about to kick off, many of the posts with the trending hashtag were done in humor.
The New York Times first reported that the Selective Service website was disrupted following World War III going viral on social media.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.