As New Year’s Eve partiers prepared to ring in the New Year while watching the iconic Times Square ball drop in Manhattan, the U.S. Strategic Command tweeted what some describe as a disturbing message.
It declared that it was ready to “drop something much, much bigger” than the glowing crystalline ball.
“#TimesSquare tradition rings in the #NewYear by dropping the big ball … if ever needed, we are #ready to drop something much, much bigger,” the original tweet read. “Watch to the end! @AFGlobalStrike @Whiteman_AFB #Deterrence #Assurance #CombatReadyForce #PeacelsOurProfession”
The accompanying embedded video showed footage of a B-2 stealth bomber. As the words “STEALTH,” “READY,” and “LETHAL” flashed across the screen in the video, the aircraft released bombs which plummeted to the ground to land in a fiery explosion upon contact.
The post and accompanying video went live, and stayed up for a while until it was removed. The military agency issued an apology for the tweet, reported the Washington Post.
“We admittedly erred in connecting it to New Year’s Eve festivities, and we apologize,” said Meghan M. Liemburg-Archer, a U.S. Strategic Command spokeswoman. “We remain dedicated to the security of America and our allies.”
The Strategic Command’s official Twitter account also posted an apology.
U.S. military tweets, then deletes, a New Year’s Eve joke about dropping bombs https://t.co/CH6nhqH3SK
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 1, 2019
“Our previous NYE tweet was in poor taste & does not reflect our values. We apologize. We are dedicated to the security of America & allies. The New Year’s Eve post drew confusion and criticism on the social media platform,” the tweet read.
People were unnerved by the flippant message, as well as the fact that Whiteman Air Force Base and the Air Force Global Strike Command were tagged in the tweet. These military organs are responsible for nuclear and nonnuclear strategic bomber fleets.
A former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics shared the since-deleted tweet, and asked quite the question.
“What kind of maniacs are running this country?” Walter Shaub queried.
Twitter user Gravi Tas used the hashtag #stopscaringus in a reply.
“Who wins worst NYE tweet? US Strategic Command.”
A U.S. Strategic Command spokesperson told the Washington Post that the now-deleted post was part of the agency’s year in review series. Said series is meant to feature its command priorities of strategic deterrence, decisive response, and combat-ready force.
“It was a repost from earlier in the year, dropping a pair of conventional Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOP) at a test range in the United States,” the spokesperson said.