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I had the strangest dream last night.  It went on and on, I couldn’t make it stop.  I don’t usually remember my dreams, but this was was remarkably clear, almost tangible.

It was about New York, mostly, about something bad happening there.  It’s not easy to talk about it today, but I think I should talk about it—maybe it’ll be a little easier to face once it’s said out loud.

There was this airplane, that crashed into the World Trade Center, two of them actually, one after the other.  I saw it first from one angle, then from another and another.  Each time the image started to fade, it came again anew.  Sometimes it was fast, like a snake bite. Sometimes it was in slow motion.  I guess I’ve watched too many sports events in my life, because I kept thinking of the instant replay referee, watching the same play over and over, making the call.

After the crash, came the thunder of each tower falling like a self-peeling banana.  I started then to wonder if this truly was a dream, because I never thought I would dream that such clean, bright structures of sharp metal and polished glass would be so dirty and gray when exposed from the inside out. They fell in a cloud of ash like the eruption of a volcano, and I was reminded of Mount Saint Helens, and the ash that settled days later on the deck on my cabin in Montana, thousands of miles away, but affected nonetheless.

The Pentagon, too, was attacked in my dream.  My father-in-law works there sometimes. He wasn’t there yesterday, though.  Just dream people.

It seems that only the Capitol building, the third in the Holy Trinity of American institutions, was somehow absent from the carnage of my dream.

I don’t want to have that dream again.

* * *

I woke up and turned on CNN, and it wasn’t a dream.

CNN commentators did a tremendous job, describing, and when necessary, not describing, the horrible pictures broadcast around the world, to Grahamstown, South Africa, to a small bed and breakfast on the tip of the world.

I heard terrorism experts and government officials saying what they really felt, their reactions, in a way that I haven’t heard in politics in so long.

But they still used politically correct terms, and seemed to want to avoid saying the things they felt, that it was too soon to say.

They didn’t say what I think, in fact what a Gallop poll done yesterday thinks, needs to be said.  We need to step away from couched phrases, hard sentiments in a soft glove.

It’s so hard to write what I feel; it feel so wrong, so uncivilized, so un-American, so angry.  But if not now, when?

I think this:

* These attacks were meant to kill thousands of Americans. There can be no confusion on this now.

* Terrorists will not be stopped by better intelligence or police arrests. “Why didn’t we have any warning?” asked some. Because, for this to have happened, there must be no warning.  If there was warning, the situation would have been different.

* These attacks were acts of war. War not from a country, but from a group of people (terrorists) against another group of people (those who denounce terrorism; civilized people).

* We are justified, in fact, we are required, as defenders of peace and democracy and civilization, to stand up and fight back against those who would attack us. They cannot be tacitly permitted to do this again, in America, in Ireland, in Israel, in the subways of Japan, anywhere.  We must fight them with guns and soldiers and planes, and prevent them from doing this again, if necessary by killing them. Yes, by killing them.  The goal of war is not to kill people.  Killing people is a consequence of war. We cannot have a war without killing people, and we cannot win a war if our people are the only ones dying.

My dream had one more part.  There was a fourth plane, heading past Pittsburgh, that crashed into the ground.  It was also peopled by murderers, but it was stopped before it reached its destination.  Innocents died; terrorists too.  In my dream, it was the least of three tragedies.

Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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