US Strategic Command's New Year's Eve joke bombs

The US military's nuclear arm has apologised for making a joke about dropping "something much, much bigger" than the Times Square ball.

Just before the clock hits midnight in New York, a ball atop a tower infamously drops to mark the beginning of a new year, in a tradition dating back more than 100 years.

The social media editor for the US Strategic Command - which looks after the most powerful nuclear arsenal in the world - thought it would be a good time to crack a joke like something out of Dr Strangelove.

"#TimesSquare tradition rings in the #NewYear by dropping the big ball...if ever needed, we are #ready to drop something much, much bigger," they wrote on Twitter.

bomb tweet
The tweet bombed. Photo credit: Twitter/US Strategic Command

The US currently has about 6800 nuclear warheads, the largest of which is the B83, with a yield of 1.2 megatons - 80 times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in World War II. The largest bomb ever made was the Soviet Union's Tsar Bomba, with a yield 42 times the B83.

The US' biggest bomb ever, the nine-megaton B41, was decommissioned in 1976.

The US Strategic Command, based in Omaha, Nebraska, removed the tweet after a swift backlash.

"Our previous NYE tweet was in poor taste & does not reflect our values. We apologize," it tweeted. "We are dedicated to the security of America & allies."

"If you can't be trusted with Twitter, how can we trust you with nukes?" replied one critic.

"No one has the job title 'Nuke Button Pusher and Social Media Manager'," came one response, to which another Twitter user suggested the US President.


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