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My ability to travel safely and report these Dispatches will undoubtedly be impacted, and to place them in magazines that were hemorraghing ads even before all this and will have less space and inclination to run long stories on foreign subjects that are not about the Middle East, that will shed light on the enemy. I will be leery like everyone about taking airplanes. And airplanes have been an incredibly important thing in my life. They have transported me to new worlds, opened my eyes to the astonishing diversity of life on planet. My grandfather was a partner of Igor Sikorky and Serge Rachmaninoff in the twenties. They developed the Pan American Clipper ship, whose maiden flight was to Rio. One of my aunts was on it. This summer my second son, a junior at Yale who is half-Brazilian, flew to Rio and fell in love with a girl there. Twenty-five years ago, I flew down to Brazil and fell in love with his mother in Brasilia. We divorced after I met the woman who has been my wife for the last eleven years on an Air Ethiopia flight from Entebbe, Uganda, to Rome, on October 4, l987. So I associate planes with love, not terror and death, and I will do my bit for the economy by continuing to take them. What curious times these are ! It has become our patriotic duty to keep traveling, consuming, shopping, investing, spending money, so the economy won’t collapse. There is no rationing to put up with—yet.
On the Friday after the attack, the Day of Remembrance, I listen on my truck’s radio to Billy Graham addressing much of the American establishment at a church  in Washington. “This earthly tent is temporary, but the house of God is eternal.” And God is on our side, God will help us do what has to be done. A few minutes later, an interview given by Bin-Laden several years time ago is quoted. “From this mountain in Afganistan, God helped us destroy the Russians, and now He will help us make America a shadow of itself. And the war against the Americans will be much easier.” So God is on both sides, hedging his bets. “Just like he is at the Army Navy game,” the writer Russell Banks who is my neighbor in the Adirondacks, reminds me.
The world is going to take a huge step backwards, back to the Middle Ages, Banks predicts. It’s going to be the Christians against the Muslims, the crusades all over again. The president even used the word crusade, apparently oblivious to its unpleasant historical resonance for Muslims. Another friend, the New Hampshire poet John Van Hazinga, e-mails a poem he has written called “Hellsapoppin.” There’s a little town by that name south of Yuma Arizona, the hottest pocket of the country. Michiko Kakatuni had a column in the New York Times about how hard it was to find words to describe the attack and its aftermath. But if you had to sum it all up in one word, hellsapoppin is a pretty good candidate.