ZNet Commentary: Strange Dreams December 31, 2006*
I keep having the same two crazy dreams. I'm just not sure what they
mean. In the first dream, George W. Bush becomes obsessed with
disproving the charge that he's a "chicken hawk" – a military hawk who has never
seen or experienced military action and its terrible consequences. He
has a vision from God. It comes to him in prayer. He orders his staff
to call up the Pentagon and arrange for him to be flown to Iraq to
participate in a night patrol. "Make it a dangerous one," he says. He
reaches into his bottom desk drawer for a bottle of whiskey.
"This will show the world I'm not a wimp like they said my Dad was,"
Bush thinks to himself. "Hell, I'm going to lead this SURGE myself."
The Army sets him up with a unit three miles outside the U.S. base in
the Iraqi town of Ramadi. He climbs into a moderately well-armored
Humvee. Ten minutes into his adventure, with sweat pouring down from under
his helmet and the smell of bourbon on his breath, the Decider hears a
Everything goes quiet and numb. His head is swimming. There's a
bright shining light. Soldiers and medical staff are yelling, but he can't
hear a word they're saying. Everyone around him is staring at him in
horror. Some are looking down to where his legs used to be. Bush looks
down himself and sees two bloody stumps. "It's so unreal," he thinks,
"why don't I feel anything?"
He starts to lose consciousness but is jolted back awake by a sharper
pain than he ever knew existed. He looks over to see a badly injured
soldier. The soldier couldn't be more than 18 years old. He's lost half
of his face.
The soldier turns to the dying president and says, "so what did you
think was going to happen, asshole?"
A band is playing "Onward Christian Soldiers" somewhere off in the distance.
It's dressed up in suits of armor like the ones worn by the Medieval Knights portrayed in those
recruiting advertisements the Armed Forces used to put on
television. Bush's last sensation on earth is the feeling of his shrunken soul
being sucked down into the molten center of the earth. He hears the
laughter of Osama bin Laden. I hear a Jimi Hendrix riff from "All Along
the Watchtower" or is it "Purple Haze."
The dream ends.
The other dream is less historically specific. It's set in Texas and
involves Laura Bush. Texas still has a lot of oil, which makes me think
it's set in the past. And the First Lady is a teenage girl, which
would put things back in the early Sixties. But the surroundings look
contemporary and even futuristic, strictly 21st century.
Anyway, in my dream young Laura Welch is driving her father's Lexus
(it's definitely not the Sixties) up to an intersection in Midland, Texas.
She sees Michael Dutton Douglas – the high school classmate she killed
with her car (by running a stop sign) on November 6, 1963 and and
tries to warn him. She's about to scream, "Watch out, Mike, I'm coming to
kill you," when she's stopped in her tracks by the angry voice of an
He's yelling at her in Chinese. He's saying, "STOP" and
"HALT" and "THIS IS A CHECK POINT" but she doesn't understand a word. She
turns her car to the left and sees more Chinese soldiers yelling and
now pointing their guns at her. She becomes frightened and confused.
She tries to hit the brakes but she hits the accelerator instead.
A single shot from a Chinese AK-47 pierces her skull. She dies
instantly as her car crashes into a gas station pump and explodes. It's all
caught on tape.
The soldier who killed her is relieved. He's been in Texas for two
weeks and still hasn't had an "insurgent K.I.A." ("killed in action").
His comrades had been starting to give him a hard time. "Nice shot,
Yao," one of his fellow soldiers says. "It's about time. Way to waste a
The scene shifts to Beijing, where the wife of the Chinese head of
state is being interviewed by a reporter. The First Lady of China denies
that her nation's occupation of the Southwestern United States –
conducted with a coalition of forces that includes tens of thousands of
Mexican soldiers determined to avenge the seizure of Mexican lands by the
U.S. during the late 1840s (after the Mexican-American War) – is motivated
by an imperial Chinese desire to control North American oil. She says
the occupation is going much better than the Chinese people know. "The
media," she says, is making things look worse than they really are.
Then I see Michael Dutton Douglas. He's making an improvised explosive
device of some sort. The slaughter of Laura Welch (who he had recently
dated) has turned him into a national independence fighter. The bumper
sticker on his car reads "Don't Mess with Texas."
A missile from a Chinese drone blows him up. An entire apartment building goes up in
flames, killing 24 innocent civilians. That makes for 1.5 million American
dead since the occupation began…on November 6, 2023.
The Americans' deaths and identities are unmentioned in China's leading
newspaper of record's daily "Names of the Dead" feature. The only
victims recorded in that section are the sturdy peasant sons and daughters
who have given their lives in China's inherently noble struggle to
defeat the "terrorist" enemies of "civilization" in (just coincidentally)
Then I'm sitting in an out of the way Beijing coffee shop listening to
Hendrix and talking to somebody who calls herself an anarchist.
We both agree that nobody seems to care about all those faceless,
nameless American victims of Chinese foreign policy.
I know these dreams are whacked out. George W. Bush would never be
caught, well, dead doing anything actually dangerous in Iraq. He and the
rest of the imperial "elite" believe that they are too privileged and
precious to actually put their bodies on the line for the criminal
policies they advance. It's the job of poorer and darker Americans to die
for their high-state lies. I don't think Bush going to start
drinking or coking-up again.
The notion of China having the capacity to invade and occupy part of
the U.S. is just as preposterous. And of course Texas tapped out most of
its oil along time ago. I don't know if Michael Dutton Douglas had
small munitions potential. I don't think they allow Hendrix to played in
China. And I don't believe in Hell (or Heaven).
But dreams aren't about rational thought. And these ones must come
from somewhere. I wonder where.
* Ok, this went out as a ZNet Sustainer Commentary on New Year's Eve. It's the one I started to put and then took down when I realized it was going up as a Sustainer piece. I don't usually post such pieces on the blog but thought I'd make an exception for this. It's a few days later. It got a big response and has been around the Web a bit.
No, I did not actually have these "dreams," of course. I can't honestly call the first one a "nightmare."
This piece is just a simple exercise in world-systemic moral inversion meant to encourage American readers to think outside the imperial box and develop a sharper and more empathetic sense of what United States actions look like to targeted global others.