Air Force Apologizes for Tweet Linking Deadly Battle to Internet Meme

Air Force Apologizes for Tweet Linking Deadly Battle to Internet Meme

"The Taliban Forces in Farah city #Afghanistan would much rather have heard #Yanny or #Laurel than the defeaning #BRRRT they got courtesy of our #A10", the Air Force tweeted, deploying a number of hashtags to engage in the conversation about the popular audio clip.

Some former US military officials viewed the tweets as a departure from the more measured online messaging typical of the USA military.

The U.S. Air Force walked back a tweet Thursday about the viral debate over whether a sound clip sounds like the word "Yanny" or "Laurel".

The Air Force Tweet came up in the weekly Pentagon briefing when Dana White, the Pentagon's chief spokesperson, was asked whether jokes should be made about a battle in which friendly forces were killed.

It was made in poor taste and we are addressing it internally. See what side they landed on down below. Afghanistan's literacy rate is only 31 percent, according to United Nations figures, and 70 percent of Afghans do not have access to reliable electricity.

From the moment it reaches your ears, you become part of one of three tribes: Yanny, Laurel or, perhaps the most infuriating group, "I can hear both!"

But the background of the battle in Farah is much starker.

"But it's probably just an airman who saw this and said, 'This is pretty cool, let's get it out there, ' and the editing process failed", said David Des Roches, a retired Army colonel who teaches at the National Defense University.

The U.S. military has provided air support with A-10 attack aircraft and drones.

The U.N. investigators could not confirm if the casualties were all civilians or whether Taliban leaders had been present at the time of the airstrike.

Even last week, the Afghan Defense Ministry insisted that 18 important Taliban commanders, including Mawlawi Baryal, a member of the Quetta Shura, were killed in the attack.

The Taliban has claimed that it has taken control of the city, but the US and Afghan governments deny that. For some, the more conciliatory approach was preferable.

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