Tag Archives: Paul R Hollrah

Democratic Treachery Rears Its Ugly Head

EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is a guest post by Paul R. Hollrah, a resident of Oklahoma who writes from the perspective of a veteran conservative politico and retired corporate government relations executive whose life experience includes having served two terms as a member of the Electoral College. Even if you disagree with him, this piece will make you think long and hard.

DEMS by David Donar at http://politicalgraffiti.wordpress.com.

DEMS by David Donar at http://politicalgraffiti.wordpress.com.

As we enter the preliminaries for the 2016 presidential election, Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media… including such heretofore “fair-minded” journalists as Chris Wallace of  Fox News Sunday… are trotting out their favorite “gotcha” questions, reserved exclusively for Republican candidates. To date, their two favorites are: “Are you personally opposed to gay Americans or same-sex marriage?” and “If you knew then what you know now, would you have sent U.S. ground troops into Iraq in 2003?”

No less a liberal icon than Bob Woodward of the Washington Post has set the record straight on the buildup to the Iraq War. In a May 25 appearance on Fox News Sunday, Woodward agreed that George W. Bush may have made mistakes, but that to say he had lied to get us into war was “grossly unfair and inaccurate.” He said, “I spent 18 months looking at how Bush decided to invade Iraq… lots of mistakes… but it was Bush telling George Tenet the CIA director, ‘Don’t let anyone stretch the case on WMD.’ He was the one who was skeptical.”

Woodward continued, “And if you try to summarize why we went into Iraq, it was momentum. That war plan kept getting better and easier, and finally at the end people were saying, ‘Hey, look, it’ll only take a week or two.’ And early on it looked like it was going to take a year or eighteen months, and so Bush pulled the trigger. A mistake certainly can be argued, and there’s an abundance of evidence. But there was no lie in this that I could find.”

Throughout calendar year 2002, policy-makers in Washington and around the world searched for ways in which to eliminate the threat posed by the weapons development programs of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Finally, on November 8, 2002, the U.N. Security Council adopted, unanimously, Resolution 1441. Under Resolution 1441, the Security Council recognized “the threat Iraq’s noncompliance with Council resolutions and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles poses to international peace and security.”

Resolution 1441 affirmed that Security Council Resolution 678 of November 29, 1990, authorized member nations to “use all necessary means (emphasis added) to uphold and implement Resolution 660 of August 2, 1990 and all relevant resolutions subsequent to Resolution 660, and to restore international peace and security in the area.” It was the authority of the U.N. that member states relied upon in their decision to use military force against Iraq.

Few members of Congress were anxious to see American ground forces engaged in a ground war in the Middle East. Accordingly, during the summer of 2002, under the theory that no dictator can remain a dictator unless his people believe him to be both omnipotent and omniscient, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), chaired by Porter Goss (R-FL), authorized funds for an “Infowar,” or SOFTWAR, offensive against Iraq… where SOFTWAR is defined as “the hostile utilization of global television to shape another nation’s will by changing its view of reality.” The goal of the SOFTWAR offensive was to remove one or both of the omnipotence/omniscience advantages from Saddam, advancing the day when the Iraqi people would find it beneficial to overthrow the dictator. (The SOFTWAR concept was the brainchild of my longtime friend, Chuck de Caro, an Information Warfare lecturer at the National Defense University and other agencies of the U.S. defense/intelligence establishment.)

The SOFTWAR offensive authorized by HPSCI, as a supplement to its FY 2003 defense authorization, read, in part, as follows:

SOFTWAR

The budget request contained $63.9 million in PE65710D8Z for Classified Programs for the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence)…

The Committee notes that information operations (IO) is increasingly becoming a more significant weapon in modern military, and moreover, asymmetric operations…

The Committee is somewhat concerned that insufficient consideration is paid to developing a capability to shape the information sphere for asymmetric operations… The Committee understands that there has been proposed a concept called Infowar, in which intelligence analysis of the threat Infosphere is coupled with the knowledge management functions of television, and an offensive management plan is developed for execution. The Committee notes that this concept is different from more traditional IO approaches in that it does not “attack” the threat directly, but rather through the threat’s intended public information consumers. The Committee believes this is a worthwhile new approach and believes the Intelligence Community should pursue it vigorously.

Therefore, the Committee recommends $73.9 million in PE65710D8Z, an increase of $10.0 Million in Classified Programs-C3I, for the SOFTWAR program.

However, the U.S. Senate, comprised of 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats, changed from Republican to Democratic control on May 24, 2001, when Sen. Jim Jeffords (R-VT) left the Republican Party to become an Independent, aligning himself with senate Democrats. As a result, when the HPSCI authorization arrived in the U.S. Senate as a supplement to the FY 2003 Defense Appropriations bill, senate Democrats decided that it was more important for them to have a political issue to use against G.W. Bush in his 2004 reelection campaign than to avert a ground war in Iraq.

During the months of September and October 2002, when the HPSCI proposal was hopelessly stalled in the U.S. Senate, I assisted de Caro in lobbying key senators, seeking to gain their support for HPSCI’s SOFTWAR offensive.   We met with senior staff aides to then-Sen. Dick Shelby (R-AL), vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and then-Sen. John Warner (R-VA), the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And we met on several occasions with senior aides to then-Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who, along with the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, were the key players in the effort to fund the SOFTWAR offensive in Iraq. But the enthusiasm of aides to Rockefeller and Byrd were not in sync with the political games that their employers were playing.

While Democrats made impassioned speeches on the floor of the senate, insisting that the Congress could not give George W. Bush the war powers he sought, and that a way had to be found to remove Saddam Hussein through non-violent means, they were busy behind closed doors instructing the staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee to kill the HPSCI SOFTWAR authorization… our last best hope of averting a ground war in Iraq. Senate Democrats were so intent upon creating an issue to use against G.W. Bush that when they were asked to fund the project for a single dollar, just to get the offensive “in the pipeline,” with supplemental funding to be added during the 108th Congress, they refused even that.

U.S. Army soldiers move down a street as they start a clearing mission in Dora, Iraq, on May 3, 2007.  Soldiers from the 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division patrolled the streets in Dora.  DoD photo by Spc. Elisha Dawkins, U.S. Army.

U.S. Army soldiers move down a street as they start a clearing mission in Dora, Iraq, on May 3, 2007. Soldiers from the 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division patrolled the streets in Dora. DoD photo by Spc. Elisha Dawkins, U.S. Army.

Thus, as coalition forces prepared for war with seeming unstoppable momentum, the Iraq War Powers Act, P.L. 107-243, passed the Republican-controlled House on October 10, 2002, by a vote of 296-133, and the Democrat-controlled Senate on October 11 by a vote of 77-23. Twenty-eight Democrats, including Senators Rockefeller, Clinton, Kerry, and Biden voted in favor of the war powers resolution.

But that was not the last we heard of Senator Rockefeller’s role in sabotaging the Iraq war effort. In the December 3, 2005, edition of the Canada Free Press, writer Joan Swirsky published an article describing events before and during the Iraq War, titled, Rockefeller’s Treachery.

Ms. Swirsky reminds us of Rockefeller’s Nov. 14, 2005, appearance on Fox News Sunday, during the period in which he served as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. In that interview, Rockefeller recalled, “I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 (months before the HPSCI proposal was approved by the House of Representatives) to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that G.W. Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq – that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11.” It was an entirely baseless charge.

Ms. Swirsky went on to say, “By himself, and fully armed with America’s most sensitive intelligence, Senator Rockefeller decided to go to three Arab countries – including Syria, which is on the State Department’s list of terrorist regimes and a close ally of Saddam Hussein – and literally alert them to what might befall a neighboring Arab state.” Putting this sharply into context, Ms. Swirsky reminds us that, “This was Senator Rockefeller’s judgment only four months after September 11th and a full year before President Bush expressed any intention to go to war.”

Finally, on March 20, 2003, with all multinational coalition forces in place, the invasion of Iraq commenced. And while Democrats continue to this day to try to convince the American people that G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney lied to launch the Iraq War, there is a strong case to be made that it was their own politically-motivated treachery that was most responsible for our entrance into the war. In that war, some 4,500 American men and women, and countless Iraqis, paid with their lives. Clearly, their blood is on Democrat hands, not on Bush and Cheney’s hands.

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‘Winning Life’s Lottery’ Requires Hard Work

EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is a guest post by Paul R. Hollrah, a resident of Oklahoma who writes from the perspective of a veteran conservative politico and retired corporate government relations executive whose life experience includes having served two terms as a member of the Electoral College. Even if you disagree with him, this piece will make you think long and hard.

Westward view of St. Louis skyline in September 2008.

Westward view of St. Louis skyline in September 2008, 75 years after Paul Hollrah’s birth.

I realize that it may be a bit uncool to dwell too much on one’s own life experiences, but I have a point to make and I hope that I will be forgiven for doing so.

I was born in 1933, in St. Louis County, Mo., in the midst of the Great Depression. My parents, both of whom came from generations of farm families, had sixth-grade educations. Farming was a matter of hard dawn-to-dusk labor, so when children had learned to read, write, and “do their sums,” they were expected to leave school to carry their share of the workload.

When my parents married in 1929, they decided to purchase a small farm, but they had no money and the banks had no money to lend, so their only alternative was to become sharecroppers, giving a one-third share of their crops to our landlord in lieu of rent.

Sharecropping provided our family with a subsistence, but little else. Nearly all of the food on our table was either from our vegetable garden, from farm animals… chicken, turkey, beef and pork… or the rabbits, squirrels, ducks, geese, and catfish that my father brought home from his frequent forays into our local forests and rivers. Whatever butter and eggs we didn’t need for our own table was taken to South St. Louis every Saturday and sold to regular customers, door-to-door. But then, when war clouds gathered over Europe and the Pacific in the late 1930s, my father took a job as a pick-and-shovel ditchdigger at 67½ cents an hour, helping to build a new munitions plant under construction at Weldon Spring, Mo.

My older sister and I attended a small one-room brick schoolhouse at Harvester, Missouri, three miles from our home, but when my father decided to give up farming for good in 1941 to work in the defense plants, we left our little red brick schoolhouse and moved to St. Charles, a suburb of St. Louis, where we were enrolled at a Lutheran parochial school. And when we completed our primary school education we attended St. Charles High School, a public high school.

I was not a good student and had little interest in high school. However, my parents insisted that if I wanted to get a good job, I had to have a high school diploma. It was the only thing they ever said on the subject. Attending a college or university was never a consideration, so during my four-year high school career I successfully avoided all subject matter related to mathematics and the sciences. I graduated in June 1951, with a GPA of just under 2.0, a C-minus average.

After graduation, I took a job as a “grease monkey,” tow truck driver and mechanics helper at a local automobile dealership, and, months later, I went to work as an assembly line riveter at McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, a major manufacturer of jet fighter planes for the U.S. military.

Then, in July 1953, I received a letter from the president of the United States; it began with the word, “Greetings.” I was drafted into the U.S. Army Aug. 12, 1953, and was trained as a Field Artillery Operations and Intelligence (O&I) specialist. After completing my basic training and my O&I training I was sent to West Germany for 17 months as a member of the post-World War II occupation forces. Upon being honorably discharged in June 1955, I returned to McDonnell Aircraft where I worked as a production control expediter for 18 months.

During that time, as therapy for an injury to my left knee, the result of a “friendly fire” incident during basic training, I took a second job as a ballroom dancing instructor in St. Louis. Those two jobs kept me fully occupied for at least 15 hours each day, five days a week. However, my injury prevented me from adequately performing my day job, so I took a job selling sewing machines and vacuum cleaners in the housing projects of St. Louis. My sales territory included the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing project where it was absolutely foolhardy for a white man to enter without an armed escort… let alone attempt to repossess a sewing machine or a vacuum cleaner from a black family who’d failed to make their monthly payments.

Finally, in December 1956, I took a job as a draftsman for Laclede-Christy Corporation, a major refractory manufacturer in South St. Louis. My job was to design open-pit strip mines on leases in Missouri and Illinois, and to assist the company surveyor in laying out prospecting plans for our drilling crews. It was during the nearly two years that I worked for Laclede-Christy that I developed an interest in surveying, mining engineering and geology.

In February 1957, I married my ballroom dancing partner, with whom I’d earned an all-St. Louis ballroom championship. However, being unable to afford the rent for a house or an apartment of our own, we were forced to move in with my parents. But then, as the economic recession of 1957-58 worsened, I learned that my job at Laclede-Christy was to be phased out. It was then that I made the decision to “escape” into college, to enroll as a full-time student at the University of Missouri College of Engineering. It was something that my supervisors at Laclede Christy had urged me to do, but I had little or no high school background in science and mathematics. So, during the 1957-58 school year I took two evening courses in Intermediate algebra at Washington University in St. Louis… just to see if I could handle college-level mathematics.

In two semesters of algebra, I earned two Cs. So, in August 1958, armed with nothing but my two Cs and an abundance of hope and determination, I enrolled at the University of Missouri. Since I had no money and no background for the study of engineering, I look back on that decision as the most courageous thing I’ve ever done. After selling everything we owned, except for our clothing and our 1953 Ford, I went to the local Goodwill store and purchased three rooms of kitchen, bedroom, and living room furniture off the junk pile in the alley behind the store for a total of fifty dollars. It was not good furniture; it was on the junk pile for good reason.

In early November 1957, we were blessed with the birth of a beautiful baby boy who was ten months old in August 1958 when we loaded all of our belongings, including our $50 worth of junk furniture, into a U-Haul trailer and moved into a dilapidated three-room tar-paper shack in Columbia, Mo., just across the road from the Missouri Tigers football stadium.

Our only regular income was the $125 I received each month under the Korean G.I. Bill… $27 of which paid our monthly rent. The remainder of our income, earmarked for the next semester’s tuition and books, gasoline, utilities, and insurance, left us with a food budget of only 60 cents a day. After we’d purchased milk and other supplies for the baby we were able to afford only beans, spaghetti, and an occasional bottle of catsup to mitigate the blandness of our starchy diet.

But the biggest shock of all was the difficulty of the course work. I was a 25-year-old veteran with a wife and child to support, and I found myself competing for grades against seventeen and 18 year olds with four years of engineering prep in their high school careers. I attended class every day, I studied very hard, and I completed every homework assignment. Yet, when mid-term grades were posted during my first semester, I found that I was failing every course.

With no alternative, I developed a radical new study regimen. I was in class at 7:40 every morning and completed my lectures by noon. By 1 p.m., I was home, hitting the books, and I refused to turn the page in a textbook until I thoroughly comprehended everything on that page. I was up every morning at 6 a.m., and I studied for 14 hours a day, every day of the week. It worked. At the end of my freshman year I found that, not only had I turned those Fs around, I was named to the Dean’s Honor Roll.

Our second child was born in January 1960, after which my wife took a night-shift job at the University Medical Center. Each night at 10 p.m., I’d load our sleeping children into the back seat of our Ford and drive my wife to the medical center in time for her 10:30 p.m. shift. After driving home, I’d return our children to their beds and resume studying until 2:30 or 3:00 a.m. After a few hours sleep, I was up again at 6 a.m., changing diapers and feeding the children. And after dropping the boys off at our babysitter’s home, I’d pick up my wife at 7 a.m. and drive her home so that she could get eight hours sleep. I was in class at 7:40 a.m., and when I’d completed my morning lecturers, I’d return home to repeat my 14-hour study regimen.

It was our daily routine, and it was brutal. When I entered the university in August 1958, I was 6 feet tall and weighed 153 lb., but when I graduated four years later, in June 1962, I was still 6 ft. tall but weighed only 116 lb. But I have no regrets. During my junior year, I was elected to Chi Epsilon, the Civil Engineering Honor Society; in 2001, I was elected to the Civil Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni; and in 2012, I was named an Honorary Knight of St. Patrick, receiving the Missouri Honor Award for Distinguished Service in Engineering.

During my junior and senior years, we had a neighbor with three small children whose husband was serving a long prison sentence. And although she was on the public dole, her in-laws often delivered supplies of freshly-butchered beef and pork from their farm… which she promptly tossed into our neighborhood garbage pails because, as she explained, she didn’t like “that old country meat.” When I returned to the university for my 20th class reunion in 1982, our former landlord reminded me that he and his wife had often seen me rooting through those garbage pails with a flashlight, late at night, digging out food with which to feed my family. It was such a painful experience that I had apparently washed it from my memory.

As we drove away that day, my eldest son said, “Dad! You fed us out of garbage cans?” To which I replied, “Yes, Mark, I did. I did whatever I had to do.”

Those were difficult, character-building years. But now, after more than 50 years of unlimited opportunity and exciting challenge, Barack Obama informs me that I’ve played no role in any of that… that I’ve arrived at this stage of my life because I’ve “won life’s lottery.” I can’t help but wonder what life would be like if I hadn’t purchased that lottery ticket.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

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