Amid rising tensions with Iran, current and former troops are not holding back. All over social media, there is a relentless onslaught of memes and short videos mocking potential enemies and the current political climate. Despite public fears and the protests of many saying the jokes are “in bad taste,” the troops keep up the banter. Dark humor has carried morale since the dawn of organized warfare, and historical records are filled with soldiers of centuries past making fun of extremely morbid situations.
World leaders are also getting in on the action. President Trump has been very vocal on social media and Iran state sponsored social media has posted several grisly warnings to the US about a potential conflict showing US troops turning into coffins draped in American flags. This of course, has ignited more reactions from all sides.
In an age where more and more people are getting news through their phones, this has the potential to have huge impacts on public opinion. Large percentages of people who were undecided on their personal views of the issue could be swayed or enraged by what they see on social media. Being tagged in a post or viewing what is being shared in private groups and messages from friends can foster a culture where people want to agree with what’s popular. Furthermore, this can be perceived as public opinion from people outside our borders, instead of isolated opinions that gathered high numbers of “likes” for simply being humorous.
Worldwide conflict would have an unimaginable death toll. If such a catastrophe were to happen, the United States would surely pull many allies into the conflict as well. This has been weighed in on heavily by members of foreign militaries on social media. The opinions have ranged from wishing the US would exercise caution, to excitement at the possibility to join America in Iran and also joy at the prospect of seeing action. Countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and many others have fought side by side with the US for decades.
Civilians have been clamoring with either dread at the possibility of being drafted not service or excitement of being able to join the ranks of those who have fought for America and her interests. Some celebrities have vowed to leave the country if a large scale conflict occurs.
Some see this boom of social media posts as a way to foster national pride and military support. However, others see it as recklessly adding fuel to an already unstable situation. As the entire world watches the situation develop, one thing we can be sure of… World War Meme has already begun.