The Verge reports that some people around the country have been receiving text messages claiming that they have been drafted into the Army. Some of the messages say that the recipient needs to report for "immediate departure to Iran," while others say that the recipient could be "be fined and sent to jail for minimum 6 years" if they don't respond to the message.
It's unclear what the senders are attempting to gain from these messages, but they have prompted people to contact their local military recruiting offices and/or flood the U.S. Army Recruiting Command with calls and emails. As a result, the United States Army released a statement confirming that these messages are not real.
"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 said in a bulletin released on Tuesday.
Although the threat of war is growing, people shouldn't be worried about being drafted. The main reason to remain calm is that a war has not officially been declared. Even if a war does break out, it would take approval from lawmakers to make the draft active.
"It would take an act of Congress signed into law by the president for the Selective Service Administration to go back in action and call people involuntarily to military service," a serving officer in North Carolina's Army National Guard, Davis Winkie, tells USA Today.
A draft can only be enacted in extreme circumstances. A war with Iran wouldn't meet the criteria for the country to rely on involuntary military service. So even though all males ages 18-25 are eligible to be drafted, unless the country goes up against a populous military power, there would be no reason for the United States to restart the draft.
"In this current geopolitical situation, there's almost zero chance unless somehow we end up in a large-scale ground war directly with Russia or China," Winkie said.
The last time people were drafted into the military was during the Vietnam War. The backlash the draft received at the time makes the probability of lawmakers reactivating the process very slim.
"I would also say that the likelihood of a draft is astronomically small," an assistant professor of Government and International Relations at Connecticut College's Eric Fleury explained. "It’s militarily impractical and politically toxic."