I Had a Dream

I've read that as you get older, your dreams become less exciting.  Not mine.  Earlier this evening, after another of my wife's spectacular suppers, I was sitting in my La—Z—Boy —— with my feet up and my hand wrapped around a glass of single—malt whiskey — when my eyes closed and my subconscious ran amok.

I dreamed that Congress and the White House were controlled by Republicans.

Usually when I wake up from a dream, I know I've had one.  But the harder I try to remember it, the faster it fades away from me.  But this dream remains as sharp and as vivid as a movie — full color, by the way — and even now I can see it in my mind's eye:

It started with a carload of FBI agents showing up to search the offices of a Democratic member of the House.  And there was the Speaker of the House, holding open the Congressman's door and asking the agents if there were anything more he could do to help.  Beside him was the Senate Majority Leader, telling reporters that Republicans have nothing to hide, and if the FBI wanted to search any of their offices while on Capitol Hill — well, the agents could come right in.

Then I was sitting in the Senate visitor's gallery, being warned by a guard that I'd be asked to leave if I didn't stop cheering every time another Republican stood up on the floor to demand that the New York politician who gave a college commencement speech last week calling for the President's assassination be arrested immediately, on charges of incitement—to—violence and treason.

I don't know how I got there in my dream, but then I was floating above a closed—door joint meeting of the House and Senate appropriations committees.  And there were the Republican members — tough, united and not bickering among themselves — laying it on the line to their Democratic colleagues: No more out—of—control spending, no more bridges—to—nowhere or indoor rain forests.  We want a balanced budget, and either we get it or we go down swinging — and we tell the voters precisely how you pandering clowns are wasting their hard—earned money and mortgaging their children's future.

And then I was on the Capitol steps, watching more than 200 Republican members of the House and more than 50 GOP senators standing together and announcing their plan to introduce a new bill whose entire text — they'd made a giant poster out of it so the photo would be on the front page of every newspaper — was comprised of just one sentence: We herewith provide $30 billion for construction of a wall to secure the US—Mexico border.

At this point I felt my wife shaking me gently on the shoulder.  'Easy does it,' she was saying. 

'You're talking in your sleep and shouting at me to write a big fat check to the National Republican Committee.  Go ahead and close your eyes again, but keep your voice down so the whole neighborhood won't hear you.'

So I closed my eyes, and a minute later I was in the White House — actually, in the Cabinet room sitting in one of those chairs you see on television lining the walls.  I was directly opposite the President and — just like you see on television — he had the Secretary of Defense on one side of him and the Secretary of State on the other.  And the President was talking in that soft Texas drawl of his:

Don, you're doin' a great job at the Pentagon.  I know you're scrambling to deal with this latest flap, and that's important.  Don't bother sending me your resignation again, because I won't accept it.  But there is one thing you can do for me.  I'm sick to death of all these generals we've got over in Iraq with graduate degrees in English lit.  We've had more than 2,000 casualties over there and not one of 'em had stars on his shoulders.  I want some generals over there who fight — sweaty, cigar—chomping generals like Grant and Patton and Stonewall Jackson, who lead their troops into battle and either get killed or come back alive with their pistols still smokin'.  It just isn't right that we send the kids out to do the dirty work while the generals sit in their air—conditioned offices staring at spreadsheets on computer screens. 

I assume we still have fighting generals in our army, so let's get some over to Iraq fast.  And if we don't have fighting generals any more, why not?

Condi, I'm real proud of you and the job you're doin' at State.  I know it isn't much fun when all our European so—called allies gang up on you, but I want you to fly back over there and tell 'em — you're better than me at finding a nice way to say it — that we're just not falling into a negotiations trap with these nuclear nut—cases in Teheran.  That won't stop their weapons program, and besides it would just crush the spirit of those brave Iranian kids who are out there every night demonstrating against their own government.  And while you're at it, you better give the Euros a heads—up on what I do plan to do: I'm gonna send a B—1 and some fighter jets over downtown Teheran — low and slow, like we used to say in the Texas Air National Guard — and when the windows stop rattlin' I'm gonna phone this Ahmadinejad fellow myself and tell him that if I get just one more piece of intelligence that Iran is messing around in Iraq, or Gaza — or anywhere else, for that matter — I'm sending that B—1 over Teheran again, this time with orders to drop its load. 

Then the President put on his reading glasses and picked up a yellow pad that seemed to have writing on it.  He made a few notes on the page, then peered over his glasses across the Cabinet table at the officials whose backs were to me.

Which one of you guys is my Energy Secretary?  I'm askin' because I haven't seen you for so long on television or in the newspapers I've forgotten what you look like.  Bad time to be AWOL, but you can talk about that later with Josh Bolten.  Right now I'm just gonna read you the text of a speech I'm making at prime—time tonight from the Oval Office.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Tony Snow grinning while the President cleared his throat and started to speak:

My fellow Americans, I know it's a real burden for many of you to fill up your gas tanks these days.  That's money you need for rent, or food, or for your kids' college education.  To some degree, high gas prices are the result of our own economic success.  The US economy is red—hot, and that's creating a lot of work for a lot of Americans.  But it means we're using an awful lot of energy, and that pushes up the price we pay at the pump.  Besides, when you look around the world right now, more people are emerging from poverty, more quickly, than at any time in world history.  That's a good thing, but — once again — it pushes up the price of oil.

There's one thing we can do to bring down the price.  We can start drilling for oil in Alaska.   Our geologists say there's more oil up there in the ANWR reserve than in my own State of Texas.   And it's our oil, which means we don't need to send American soldiers into battle — or kiss some sheikh's rear end — to get it.

So tonight I'm asking Congress to approve drilling in ANWR, and I want a bill on my desk in 72 hours.  We'll start work up in ANWR within a month, and I assure you that we'll do everything we possibly can to keep the environment up there clean and not upset any caribous or mosquitoes.

It'll take a while, but if we start drilling in ANWR eventually the price you pay at the pump will drop.  And if Congress doesn't clear the way — well, I'm going to put a picture of Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi on every gas pump in this country so you'll know who to thank for emptying your wallet every time you fill up.

Good night, and God bless America.

My dog was barking now, and my wife was shaking my shoulder again — not nearly as gently as last time. 

'You're still talking in your sleep, and I told you before we're not writing a big fat check to the GOP until they start acting like Republicans instead of wimps.  I'm going to walk the dog, and if  you don't get out of that chair while I'm out you won't be able to sleep at all tonight.'

I tried to wake myself up — I really tried — but as I heard the dog being dragged out the door my eyes closed again.

Now I was in Afghanistan — or maybe it was Pakistan, or what the foreign correspondents call 'the remote regions of Waziristan.'  Anyway, I was sitting on a tree stump in a big clearing, surrounded by huge mountains, and there were tents pitched all around me.  At first I thought it was one of our forward military bases, but then I realized that none of the dozens of Americans walking around were in uniform.  The whole thing reminded me of some Boy Scout camping trips I'd been on years ago.

I was still trying to get my bearings when a tall, blond, balding man who looked about thirty—five years old walked by, dressed in jeans and a sweat shirt with a pistol hanging from his belt.

'Good afternoon, sir,' he said, shaking my hand.  'I take it you're one of the new arrivals.  Welcome to the Ronald Reagan brigade.'

'To the what?'

'We're the Reagan brigade,' he said, rather proudly.  'If you're looking for the Ground Zero division from New York, they're over that ridge to the West.  The Tennessee Irregulars are about two miles north, and last I heard Limbaugh's Linebackers from California are about seven miles due east.'

From the look on my face the young man saw that I had no idea what he was talking about.  He walked over to a nearby campfire, poured coffee into two tin cups, came back and handed me one while taking a sip from the other before explaining.

'Well, sir, it's like this.  Our president — God, we love this man — isn't just a Republican.  He's a Texan.  So he did the one thing that only we Americans know how to do when we're attacked.  He ordered up a posse.'

'A what?'

'You heard right, sir.  He ordered up a posse.  He asked that every able—bodied man over the age of twenty—one get on over here — with our guns —— and find that bastard who ordered the 9—11 attacks.  The response was overwhelming.  After all, we're Americans.  You knock down our buildings and kill our people — we're coming after you ourselves.  All of us.

'You should have seen it.  From one end of the US to the other, men started walking off their jobs, closing their shops, powering down their office computers, then going home to get their guns and to kiss their wives and kids goodbye and to tell them we'd be home again when we'd got the job done.'

'But what about money?'

'No sweat.  Most companies gave the volunteers paid leave.  And then some of our people set up a website, and Americans poured in enough money to cover those of us who work on our own.  Everyone wanted to do something — anything — to be part of this war and to give our armed forces a hand.'

'But how did you actually get over here?' I asked.  'It's halfway around the world.'

The young man laughed.  'That was the easy part.  Every airline including FEDEX and UPS — hell, just about every corporation with its own jet — donated planes and fuel.  And nearly every pilot volunteered to fly us over on their days off, with no pay.  Nobody's really counting, but we've got several hundred thousand of us over here already, and more arriving every day.'

'What exactly are you doing?'

'Sir, we're Americans.  We'd gotten so used to the government doing everything for us that we'd nearly forgotten our national talent for self—organizing.  We've formed our own units, our own command structure, our own supply lines — you name it, we've got it.  Look around, sir.  We're carpenters, teachers, truck drivers, accountants, professional athletes, salesmen, even an investment banker or two.  Come to think of it I haven't seen any lawyers, but somehow we're managing. And you'd be surprised by how many of us have experience in the military or in the intelligence service.

'We're sweeping in from all sides — there's no way this guy can escape.  Anyone gets in our way, we ask them politely to get out of the way.  If they do, we keep moving.  If they don't — well, we shoot our way through them.  They're starting to figure out we're serious — and we're armed.  And if the rest of the world sees that Americans are out here on our own, angry and not going home until we've done what we came here to do — well, we figure that's a good thing for the world to see.'

'How do you coordinate all of this out here in the middle of nowhere?'

The young man smiled and took his cell phone from his pocket.  'Sir, you wouldn't believe how many guys we've got here who work for the phone companies.  I don't know quite how they rigged it up, but I'm getting better reception here than I ever did in downtown Minneapolis.'

There was a burst of activity at the other end of the camp, and the young man swallowed the last of his coffee and stood up.  'We're moving out now.   You know, we've got quite a few old codgers like you — one guy showed up last week dragging an oxygen tank and insisted on joining the fight, so we've got him settled comfortably, sorting ammo.  You look in good shape for someone your age, so if you'd like to volunteer we'd be honored to have you among us.'

'I haven't got a gun.'

'No problem, sir.  We've got plenty.'

I remember that we stood up, joined the crowd that was forming, and headed into the mountains.  I was surrounded by Americans from all over the country, from all walks of life.  I had no idea where we were, but I knew that I was where I wanted to be —— in the fight to save Western civilization.

Then I was wide awake.  There was a blanket over me, and a note pinned to the blanket.

'I've walked the dog and locked the house, so just turn on the dishwasher before coming to bed.  That must be some dream you're having, because I haven't seen you sleeping with a smile since you and I first started — well, for a long time.  If your dream is really that good — and if it isn't about some other woman — maybe you should write it down before you forget it.'

It's very late now — in more ways than one — and I've written out my dream, printed a copy and put it on the dining room table so my wife can read it when she comes down to breakfast.  But I've also written out this version, for you, because I'm curious to know if anyone else is having this same dream.

Herbert E. Meyer served during the Reagan Administration as Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council.  His best—selling DVD, The Siege of Western Civilization, has just been made available for free to military personnel and their families at www.rightsidevideo.com.

I've read that as you get older, your dreams become less exciting.  Not mine.  Earlier this evening, after another of my wife's spectacular suppers, I was sitting in my La—Z—Boy —— with my feet up and my hand wrapped around a glass of single—malt whiskey — when my eyes closed and my subconscious ran amok.

I dreamed that Congress and the White House were controlled by Republicans.

Usually when I wake up from a dream, I know I've had one.  But the harder I try to remember it, the faster it fades away from me.  But this dream remains as sharp and as vivid as a movie — full color, by the way — and even now I can see it in my mind's eye:

It started with a carload of FBI agents showing up to search the offices of a Democratic member of the House.  And there was the Speaker of the House, holding open the Congressman's door and asking the agents if there were anything more he could do to help.  Beside him was the Senate Majority Leader, telling reporters that Republicans have nothing to hide, and if the FBI wanted to search any of their offices while on Capitol Hill — well, the agents could come right in.

Then I was sitting in the Senate visitor's gallery, being warned by a guard that I'd be asked to leave if I didn't stop cheering every time another Republican stood up on the floor to demand that the New York politician who gave a college commencement speech last week calling for the President's assassination be arrested immediately, on charges of incitement—to—violence and treason.

I don't know how I got there in my dream, but then I was floating above a closed—door joint meeting of the House and Senate appropriations committees.  And there were the Republican members — tough, united and not bickering among themselves — laying it on the line to their Democratic colleagues: No more out—of—control spending, no more bridges—to—nowhere or indoor rain forests.  We want a balanced budget, and either we get it or we go down swinging — and we tell the voters precisely how you pandering clowns are wasting their hard—earned money and mortgaging their children's future.

And then I was on the Capitol steps, watching more than 200 Republican members of the House and more than 50 GOP senators standing together and announcing their plan to introduce a new bill whose entire text — they'd made a giant poster out of it so the photo would be on the front page of every newspaper — was comprised of just one sentence: We herewith provide $30 billion for construction of a wall to secure the US—Mexico border.

At this point I felt my wife shaking me gently on the shoulder.  'Easy does it,' she was saying. 

'You're talking in your sleep and shouting at me to write a big fat check to the National Republican Committee.  Go ahead and close your eyes again, but keep your voice down so the whole neighborhood won't hear you.'

So I closed my eyes, and a minute later I was in the White House — actually, in the Cabinet room sitting in one of those chairs you see on television lining the walls.  I was directly opposite the President and — just like you see on television — he had the Secretary of Defense on one side of him and the Secretary of State on the other.  And the President was talking in that soft Texas drawl of his:

Don, you're doin' a great job at the Pentagon.  I know you're scrambling to deal with this latest flap, and that's important.  Don't bother sending me your resignation again, because I won't accept it.  But there is one thing you can do for me.  I'm sick to death of all these generals we've got over in Iraq with graduate degrees in English lit.  We've had more than 2,000 casualties over there and not one of 'em had stars on his shoulders.  I want some generals over there who fight — sweaty, cigar—chomping generals like Grant and Patton and Stonewall Jackson, who lead their troops into battle and either get killed or come back alive with their pistols still smokin'.  It just isn't right that we send the kids out to do the dirty work while the generals sit in their air—conditioned offices staring at spreadsheets on computer screens. 

I assume we still have fighting generals in our army, so let's get some over to Iraq fast.  And if we don't have fighting generals any more, why not?

Condi, I'm real proud of you and the job you're doin' at State.  I know it isn't much fun when all our European so—called allies gang up on you, but I want you to fly back over there and tell 'em — you're better than me at finding a nice way to say it — that we're just not falling into a negotiations trap with these nuclear nut—cases in Teheran.  That won't stop their weapons program, and besides it would just crush the spirit of those brave Iranian kids who are out there every night demonstrating against their own government.  And while you're at it, you better give the Euros a heads—up on what I do plan to do: I'm gonna send a B—1 and some fighter jets over downtown Teheran — low and slow, like we used to say in the Texas Air National Guard — and when the windows stop rattlin' I'm gonna phone this Ahmadinejad fellow myself and tell him that if I get just one more piece of intelligence that Iran is messing around in Iraq, or Gaza — or anywhere else, for that matter — I'm sending that B—1 over Teheran again, this time with orders to drop its load. 

Then the President put on his reading glasses and picked up a yellow pad that seemed to have writing on it.  He made a few notes on the page, then peered over his glasses across the Cabinet table at the officials whose backs were to me.

Which one of you guys is my Energy Secretary?  I'm askin' because I haven't seen you for so long on television or in the newspapers I've forgotten what you look like.  Bad time to be AWOL, but you can talk about that later with Josh Bolten.  Right now I'm just gonna read you the text of a speech I'm making at prime—time tonight from the Oval Office.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Tony Snow grinning while the President cleared his throat and started to speak:

My fellow Americans, I know it's a real burden for many of you to fill up your gas tanks these days.  That's money you need for rent, or food, or for your kids' college education.  To some degree, high gas prices are the result of our own economic success.  The US economy is red—hot, and that's creating a lot of work for a lot of Americans.  But it means we're using an awful lot of energy, and that pushes up the price we pay at the pump.  Besides, when you look around the world right now, more people are emerging from poverty, more quickly, than at any time in world history.  That's a good thing, but — once again — it pushes up the price of oil.

There's one thing we can do to bring down the price.  We can start drilling for oil in Alaska.   Our geologists say there's more oil up there in the ANWR reserve than in my own State of Texas.   And it's our oil, which means we don't need to send American soldiers into battle — or kiss some sheikh's rear end — to get it.

So tonight I'm asking Congress to approve drilling in ANWR, and I want a bill on my desk in 72 hours.  We'll start work up in ANWR within a month, and I assure you that we'll do everything we possibly can to keep the environment up there clean and not upset any caribous or mosquitoes.

It'll take a while, but if we start drilling in ANWR eventually the price you pay at the pump will drop.  And if Congress doesn't clear the way — well, I'm going to put a picture of Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi on every gas pump in this country so you'll know who to thank for emptying your wallet every time you fill up.

Good night, and God bless America.

My dog was barking now, and my wife was shaking my shoulder again — not nearly as gently as last time. 

'You're still talking in your sleep, and I told you before we're not writing a big fat check to the GOP until they start acting like Republicans instead of wimps.  I'm going to walk the dog, and if  you don't get out of that chair while I'm out you won't be able to sleep at all tonight.'

I tried to wake myself up — I really tried — but as I heard the dog being dragged out the door my eyes closed again.

Now I was in Afghanistan — or maybe it was Pakistan, or what the foreign correspondents call 'the remote regions of Waziristan.'  Anyway, I was sitting on a tree stump in a big clearing, surrounded by huge mountains, and there were tents pitched all around me.  At first I thought it was one of our forward military bases, but then I realized that none of the dozens of Americans walking around were in uniform.  The whole thing reminded me of some Boy Scout camping trips I'd been on years ago.

I was still trying to get my bearings when a tall, blond, balding man who looked about thirty—five years old walked by, dressed in jeans and a sweat shirt with a pistol hanging from his belt.

'Good afternoon, sir,' he said, shaking my hand.  'I take it you're one of the new arrivals.  Welcome to the Ronald Reagan brigade.'

'To the what?'

'We're the Reagan brigade,' he said, rather proudly.  'If you're looking for the Ground Zero division from New York, they're over that ridge to the West.  The Tennessee Irregulars are about two miles north, and last I heard Limbaugh's Linebackers from California are about seven miles due east.'

From the look on my face the young man saw that I had no idea what he was talking about.  He walked over to a nearby campfire, poured coffee into two tin cups, came back and handed me one while taking a sip from the other before explaining.

'Well, sir, it's like this.  Our president — God, we love this man — isn't just a Republican.  He's a Texan.  So he did the one thing that only we Americans know how to do when we're attacked.  He ordered up a posse.'

'A what?'

'You heard right, sir.  He ordered up a posse.  He asked that every able—bodied man over the age of twenty—one get on over here — with our guns —— and find that bastard who ordered the 9—11 attacks.  The response was overwhelming.  After all, we're Americans.  You knock down our buildings and kill our people — we're coming after you ourselves.  All of us.

'You should have seen it.  From one end of the US to the other, men started walking off their jobs, closing their shops, powering down their office computers, then going home to get their guns and to kiss their wives and kids goodbye and to tell them we'd be home again when we'd got the job done.'

'But what about money?'

'No sweat.  Most companies gave the volunteers paid leave.  And then some of our people set up a website, and Americans poured in enough money to cover those of us who work on our own.  Everyone wanted to do something — anything — to be part of this war and to give our armed forces a hand.'

'But how did you actually get over here?' I asked.  'It's halfway around the world.'

The young man laughed.  'That was the easy part.  Every airline including FEDEX and UPS — hell, just about every corporation with its own jet — donated planes and fuel.  And nearly every pilot volunteered to fly us over on their days off, with no pay.  Nobody's really counting, but we've got several hundred thousand of us over here already, and more arriving every day.'

'What exactly are you doing?'

'Sir, we're Americans.  We'd gotten so used to the government doing everything for us that we'd nearly forgotten our national talent for self—organizing.  We've formed our own units, our own command structure, our own supply lines — you name it, we've got it.  Look around, sir.  We're carpenters, teachers, truck drivers, accountants, professional athletes, salesmen, even an investment banker or two.  Come to think of it I haven't seen any lawyers, but somehow we're managing. And you'd be surprised by how many of us have experience in the military or in the intelligence service.

'We're sweeping in from all sides — there's no way this guy can escape.  Anyone gets in our way, we ask them politely to get out of the way.  If they do, we keep moving.  If they don't — well, we shoot our way through them.  They're starting to figure out we're serious — and we're armed.  And if the rest of the world sees that Americans are out here on our own, angry and not going home until we've done what we came here to do — well, we figure that's a good thing for the world to see.'

'How do you coordinate all of this out here in the middle of nowhere?'

The young man smiled and took his cell phone from his pocket.  'Sir, you wouldn't believe how many guys we've got here who work for the phone companies.  I don't know quite how they rigged it up, but I'm getting better reception here than I ever did in downtown Minneapolis.'

There was a burst of activity at the other end of the camp, and the young man swallowed the last of his coffee and stood up.  'We're moving out now.   You know, we've got quite a few old codgers like you — one guy showed up last week dragging an oxygen tank and insisted on joining the fight, so we've got him settled comfortably, sorting ammo.  You look in good shape for someone your age, so if you'd like to volunteer we'd be honored to have you among us.'

'I haven't got a gun.'

'No problem, sir.  We've got plenty.'

I remember that we stood up, joined the crowd that was forming, and headed into the mountains.  I was surrounded by Americans from all over the country, from all walks of life.  I had no idea where we were, but I knew that I was where I wanted to be —— in the fight to save Western civilization.

Then I was wide awake.  There was a blanket over me, and a note pinned to the blanket.

'I've walked the dog and locked the house, so just turn on the dishwasher before coming to bed.  That must be some dream you're having, because I haven't seen you sleeping with a smile since you and I first started — well, for a long time.  If your dream is really that good — and if it isn't about some other woman — maybe you should write it down before you forget it.'

It's very late now — in more ways than one — and I've written out my dream, printed a copy and put it on the dining room table so my wife can read it when she comes down to breakfast.  But I've also written out this version, for you, because I'm curious to know if anyone else is having this same dream.

Herbert E. Meyer served during the Reagan Administration as Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council.  His best—selling DVD, The Siege of Western Civilization, has just been made available for free to military personnel and their families at www.rightsidevideo.com.