MoCo Councilman Hans Riemer’s Political Hoax: Reinstating the Military Draft
Usually when political operatives engage in dirty tricks, they take great pains to avoid having their fingerprints attached. They are, at least a little embarrassed, at being caught red handed circulating some lie or hoax in order to advance their candidate or party.
Montgomery County Councilman (and potential Congressional District 8 Democratic candidate) Hans Riemer shows no such reluctance. In his own bio, he takes personal credit for a media campaign promoting the notion that the military draft would be reinstated:
“In the 2004 election, Hans served as political director for Rock the Vote, as the group registered nearly a million young voters and broke new ground in online political
engagement…..and guided the organization’s strategy, including the controversial media campaign on the military draft that rocked the 2004 presidential election.”
“Controversial” apparently is Hans’ euphemism for a complete fabrication. There was never a chance of the draft being reinstated
At the time, the fact-checking website “Urban Legends” debunked the draft email campaign with the following comments:
“Most knowledgeable observers put the chances of Congress reinstating the military draft in the near future at near zero. As noted in the Selective Service statement above, both President Bush and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld have repeatedly insisted there is no need for a draft at this time, and although there are indeed two bills before Congress calling for a revival of some form of compulsory military service, both were introduced by Democrats with neither the interest nor the support of the current administration. The bills have languished in committee for more a year without so much as a single debate or discussion. No one expects anything to come of them, certainly not by 2005.”
The website Snopes reached an identical conclusion: “Claim: The U.S. military will be reinstating the draft by Spring 2005. Status: False”
At that time, the legislation on the draft came from Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and it was actually a proposal to create a national service requirement, either for the military or for domestic service. His bill never attracted a single Republican co-sponsor, or any activity in the then Republican controlled Congress.
In spite of this, Hans Riemer can be seen on archived C-SPAN footage at a June 8, 2005 “Rock the Vote” fundraiser honoring former President Clinton, making the following claims:
“…and that is why we tackled issue of a potential military draft. This one issue, with this one issue, young people showed their political power. We saw it, we gave it a megaphone, Congress saw it, and they voted against it, the President – the Presidential candidates saw it and they were against reinstating the draft, and this is not over, but we know where young people stand.” 
Consider the incredible brazenness of the scene that C-SPAN captures. Hans Riemer is caught on stage with the former President of the United States, not just claiming to have won a Congressional vote that never actually occurred, but also suggesting he caused President Bush to reverse a position on the reinstating a military draft, and also that of other (presumably all Democratic) Presidential candidates. Not a shred of evidence suggests any of them ever entertained supporting a draft.
President Reagan once popularized the English translation of a Russian proverb, “Trust, but Verify.” When considering the claims of political operatives such as Hans Riemer, the better advice seems to be “Verify, before ever Trusting.”
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