Anonymous text messages claiming the receiver has been drafted into the U.S. Army are popping up on cell phones across America.
The Army has disavowed the messages, claiming that it’s not even the agency that would manage a Draft.
Although U.S. men must register for the Selective Service, it would take an act of Congress to bring the Draft back.
A mysterious set of text messages is making the rounds, telling American civilians to get ready to ship out to Iran—or face jail time. The problem: the texts aren’t really from the U.S. Army or Selective Service. The Army says it didn’t send the messages, but doesn’t know who did.
The messages started going out across the country after the assassination of Iraqi general Qassem Soleimani. The text messages are vaguely familiar to anyone who has gotten a fake IRS text message, claiming that the recipient is in trouble for non-compliance—in this case the draft—and faces jail time. Only by complying with the scam can the recipient set things straight. As you'd expect, the texts are in poorly worded English. One variation goes like this:
United States Official Army Draft (sic), we tried contacting you through mail several times and have had no response (sic). You’ve been marked eligible and must come to the nearest branch (sic) in Jacksonville Florida for immediate departure to Iran. Please contact us at the following number [redacted] and respond to this message immediately.
US Army Recruiting Battalion. Ask for [redacted] Jacksonville Recruiting Battalion [redacted].
We’re aware that this number is not disconnected, you’ll be fined and sent to jail for minimum 6 years (sic) if no reply.
The U.S. Army has put out a statement on the text messages, saying, “U.S. Army Recruiting Command has received multiple calls and emails about these fake text messages and wants to ensure Americans understand these texts are false and were not initiated by this command or the U.S. Army.”
The Army goes on to state that the federal Selective Service System, not the armed services, is in charge of the draft system. It’s a totally different pipeline: Selective Service deals with draftees, while recruiters are responsible for inducting volunteers.
The draft, also known as conscription, has been utilized for almost every major American war, starting with the Revolutionary War, then the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Cold War (Korea and Vietnam). The Draft was ended in 1973 at the tail end of the Vietnam War, but American men are still required to sign up with Selective Service in case the draft is reactivated.
Could government reinstate the draft? It could, but doing so would require an act of Congress. The U.S. military dislikes the draft and would prefer it not return. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Space Force would rather induct willing volunteers than reluctant draftees.
If for some highly unlikely reason the Selective Service did reinstate the draft, the system would probably start assigning numbers to groups of American men by age group and using the lottery system. Although nerve-wracking and suspenseful, a nationwide lottery would probably be the fairest way to run a draft. It’s unlikely that such a system would rely on the internet as there would be too much inducement to hack a computer system or bring it crashing down. It will probably, like past drafts, use the U.S. Mail.
The Selective Service System web site has crashed several times since the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, and is down right now.
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