Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

Reading the Supreme Court's decisions on military tribunals, I realized that I hadn't written a researched essay since The Treaty Ripper in September. It felt good to escape the subjective for a few hours and deal with Supreme Court precedents. In the months to come I will try to keep a balance between personal observations and the type of fact-based analysis which is more typical of the Spectacle.

There are a lot of things I want to say about the events of 9/11 and after which I haven't yet had time for. The impact on freedom of speech in this country is an important one. I was astonished at the cowardice of the major media outlets after the government asked them not to publicize bin Laden's pronouncements, which were highly newsworthy. Steganography, my ass! (If you don't understand that remark I'll explain it when I finally write the free speech essay.)

I was poised to write something about the ethics of what I thought was going to be a long term strategic bombing campaign. The rapid collapse of the Taliban, which apparently surprised our military leaders, nonetheless made them look like geniuses. Notwithstanding, the Afghan civilians we killed are just as innocent as the victims at the World Trade Center in New York, and I still plan to write about this issue.

Then there are the religious implications, the fact that everything that was done was done in the name of God by devout men. Dostoeyvsky feared that "without God, everything is permitted," and Mohammed Atta replies that "everything is permitted in the name of God." Apropos of which, note the two letters below, one saying the Jews deserved the Holocaust because they had forsaken God, and the other instructing them to stop whining about it.

In my overloaded bookcases are many books which I have owned for half a lifetime or more but failed to read. I picked one of them up when I couldn't sleep last night, Aldo Leopold's Sand Country Almanac, published in 1949. It is an old paperback which belonged to my father, and its spine cracked as I turned the pages. Leopold writes of nature on a Wisconsin farm, in the tradition which began with Thoreau and runs as far as Norman Maclean: "I know of no solitude so secure as one guarded by a spring flood; nor do the geese, who have seen more kinds and degrees of aloneness than I have." This is perfect reading for a night in which I dreamed that I infiltrated an Al Quaeda cell and was discovered by thugs who are trying to get in the front door of my house. Leopold on his isolated farm knew nothing of hijacked 767's. He does not even mention World War II. I turn to the back cover and learn that Leopold was killed before the book appeared, fighting a grass fire on his neighbor's farm.

I value your email greatly and can be reached as always at jw@bway.net.

Jonathan Wallace


Year Zero
Dear Jonathan,

Keep sending your Year Zero writings to me and my family. It's "required reading" for my fourteen year old daughter, who takes a great interest in current events and is developing what I hope will be a great intellect. Your views might be slightly to the left of mine but they're certainly equally valid and most clearly expressed! I'm grateful that you choose to share you thoughts with us. And, hey, anyone who likes Heinlein can't be bad!!

Sincerely, Tim Flynn tlflynn@gte.net


Dear Jonathan:

You wrote:

The text of one of the messages was as follows:

'Hey, I never realized this guy was the type of slob who just dumps his trash on the sidewalk. Take me off the list please!'

This was very startling but I realized that I have been using this usually very low volume, low intensity list to send out some very personal and emotional stuff which you didn't sign up for.

Even given the point in the last sentence, I can only assume that the person who tossed off such a spiteful comment wasn't touched by much he read (*another* assumption) at the Spectacle anyway.

Jonathan, the "Year Zero" series has allowed me and those I've been sharing it with an opportunity to get closer than we may ever have otherwise to New York in this terrible time; your clear vision and honest storytelling have helped to illuminate a bad time for us all, and I have been looking forward to each installment.

Thank you for sharing your experience with me, and please continue.

J.D. Goff jgoff at home dot com


Dear Jonathan,

I love your story, that I just stumbled upon. I am a Red Cross volunteer from Maui, Hawaii. I just returned from 5 weeks as a midnight shift supervisor at Respite 3. It was the most reqarding experience of my 6 years with the Red Cross, and I assure you at 42 I had no problems climbing in and out of my courier vans (heehee).

I'm having a hard time getting back to my normal routine, if I ever do, and it touched me dearly to be reminded in your writing of what was my reality for 5 weeks at Ground Zero; so many security stops, everything always wet, the odor.........

Thank you for sharing, thank you for assisting us, God Bless you.

Aloha, Teri Andrade tandrade@gateway.net


Jonathan,

I was very surprised by the tone of the message that you quoted from the guy who wanted to unsubscribe. People react in strange and unexpected ways.

I'm an English teacher in Warsaw, a long way from where things are happening and sometimes its not so easy to understand what people on the spot are feeling. I have found your writings really helpful, moving, sad, supporting and all those cute adjectives.

I'm nearly fifty and not so fit and I wouldn't be any use on the heavy labouring work. When you wrote about finding out that the simple ability to drive would be a help I almost cried because I would have wanted to do that too and I understood your feelings about being able to make some contribution very clearly. It would have been hard for me to keep on the right side of the road, but I would have tried.

By the way, I have been forwarding your stuff to an old friend who lives in Queens. I know he has found it helpful too.

Please don't be put off by this guy who wrote, perhaps he is as confused as the rest of us. Thank you for the things you have written and thank you for reminding me about Yeats. I hope you feel able to write more about your experience of this event and I want to receive it.

Peter Hart peterh@polbox.com


Dear Jonathan,

Just finished reading your Year Zero article and I must thank you for perfectly describing the "feel" of being down and around Ground Zero.

I was the Red Cross coordinator on duty the night you arrived with your delivery. I think we spoke to each other in the dock, but that night like many of the nights has blurred into a mosaic of memories.

You have truly captured the essence of the experience. I have forwarded the webpage to all I know who want to know "what it was like". Thank you for donating your time to the relief effort and your prose to the relieve effort. I hope many people will be fortunate enough to come across your article. You do us proud.

Brett smiling@acninc.net


Dear Jonathan:

Please, please continue sending me your Year Zero stuff, and add me to your YZ list, which I'm sure you'll end up creating since there are many more people than not out here in the etherworld who appreciate you! You do some of the best writing on the 'Net, and your technical skills as a writer, as well as your insight, are a not only a relief from the ordinary but always thought-provoking food for the intellect.

-Chris(tine) Rauckis, Columbus OH crauckis@vcdsm.com


Dear Mr. Wallace:

From New Zealand where life goes on, it is most salutary to be reminded that the events of Sept 11 are still very real - in fact still smoking.

Jacquetta Bell jacq@nelsonmedia.co.nz


Dear Mr. Wallace:

Yes please.

True, it was unexpected. But written with dignity, and accepted. Broadened my understanding of the human perspective.

Wishing you all the best

Jim Hill jimhill24@yahoo.com


Dear Jonathan,

Please keep me on the list for your Year Zero mailings -- the more personal the better. I need to read ALL kinds of stuff on the New World Order, and yours are always welcome.

Sharon Thomas doloresnocturni@cs.com


Dear Mr. Wallace:

Please include me on your year zero list. Please don't let critical deviants affect your thoughts or postings. They always have the option of unsubscribing or hitting the delete key.

Juggler juggler@directcon.net


Dear Jonathan,

I have been really enjoying your essays about the September 11th attacks. For me the Year Zero series has brought some reality to the situation through the use of personal accounts. It is difficult for people thousands of miles away, for example where I live in Texas, to truly understand and visualize ground zero and the effect of the attacks on New York life. I have felt very disconnected from it all. In your essays I have found extremely interesting and valuable information, and I would be saddened if you did not continue to include me on your Year Zero mailing list. Please continue to send me your articles, and thank you for having the courage to share an experience that is obviously intensely personal for you.

Best Regards, Ruth Hendrix ruthhendrix@hotmail.com


Dear Mr. Wallace:

Sign me up for further year-zero mailings, please. I find them readable and heartening.

--Phil


Dear Mr. Wallace:

Oh dear . .

I've been reading the Ethical Spectacle every month for at least the past three years (I think . . possibly even longer than that?) and am always very interested to hear what you (and others) have to say. In fact, I always read your articles first.... I have very much appreciated all that you have done, including the "Year Zero" stuff, which appeals to me in many ways, and I am always anxious to read anything and everything you write. In fact, I thought of you on September 11 . . . Jonathan Wallace is in New York, I hope he's OK . . . and then as soon as you started writing and I knew that you were, I have been extremely interested to hear you write about how this all affects you. You're one of the favorite individual perspectives out there! Please continue with the good work! I'm sorry I hadn't told you how much I appreciated it before. THANK YOU for sharing your personal stuff here because it is very important work, I believe.

Jessica H. Thompson jht@cbj.com


Dear Mr. Wallace:

Your column/website has an enlightening view of all things relevant. In the present United States where media is controlled, albeit invisibly, to a great extent it is reassuring to find an outlet without the propaganda.

It is quite unfortunate, I think, that the citizens of the US are by far the most propagandized in the world -- more so than even the most fundamentalist regimes. In those regimes, the people have no choice. In our free society, people have a choice and they choose to believe in the propaganda.

If you create a special mailing list as you stated above, please put me on that list.

Regards,

Name withheld


Dear Mr. Wallace:

Please continue to send me your Year Zero essays. I like them very much. Pity the poor idiots who whine about email overload.

Jeremy Craig jcraig@arches.uga.edu


Dear Mr. Wallace:

Thanks for the notice and comments. Please keep me on your mailing lists. I enjoy the Ethical Spectacle, primarily your essays and commentary, but also usually read the contributors. I do not always agree with everything you or others write but I find the Spectacle informational, thought provoking, generally well written, and a thoughtful contribution to the dialogue on some controversial topics.

I also urge you to continue the Year Zero essays and count me among those who are interested and appreciate reading about your personal insights, value-system review, and self-examination during this evolving crisis. There is nothing wrong with telling people the truth about how you feel or what you think. Some will view it as impolitic and it may affect commercial interests. However, I find your essays and Year Zero commentary intellectually refreshing and candid. Keep up the good work and continue to count me as one of your interested readers.

Don Stoughton dons@dsa1.com


Dear Mr. Wallace:

I have been very interested in your "Year Zero" essays. I live far removed from from the site of the Sept. 11th tragedy, and it's intriguing to hear a first hand account of what some (or you) are experiencing. I would greatly appreciate reading more "Year Zero" essays. They are thoughtful, insightful, and they take me to New York for a short time so I can better understand what a close encounter with the horror of that day breeds in one's mind. Keep up the good work.

Karen Motteler Karen_Motteler@doh.state.fl.us


dear mr. wallace

there are many things about your writing that i like but one at the top of the list is your ability to express your inner thoughts and feelings. that impresses me, i guess because i find it nearly impossible to do. getting those thoughts from my heart and/or brain and out thru my mouth (or fingers:), well, i think there must be a disconnect in the path somewhere.

anyway, i would appreciate it very much if i could continue to receive your essays by email. sometimes i don't get around to visiting the ethical spectacle website but i *always* read my email. i wouldn't want to miss a single essay in your 'year zero' series. thank you for expressing the inexpressable for me.

-elle


Hi Jonathan,

I enjoy the Year Zero comments very much. Good stuff. Thoughtful. Keep sending them to me. Regards, Ken Loveless ken@ccsi.com


Jonathan -

I guess you know by now that you can't please everyone, and some idiots you can't please at all.

Since we had a few S.Florida volunteers on the site to help with the animals, I was already receiving highly personal accounts by e-mail.

Yours are just better written. Cheers -

Capt. Ron strays@bellsouth.net
http://www.pets911.org


Dear Jonathan:

Please continue sending your Year Zero essays. The news tries to be objective so by definition individual experience can't have value. I remember that 1st day after the shock wore off being really pissed how the news seemed to focus on buildings. Which building was weakened, which one was expected to fall next and nothing on what people were doing. Everyone in Manhattan that day had a story to tell and not one radio or tv outlet considered those stories news. (Only certain people are newsworthy) You put human reflection onto those (unblinking) pictures of destruction. Not 100 stories tall, you make it man-sized. Thank You.

John Ciecel uselesseater@msn.com


Dear Jonathan:

"Hey, I never realized this guy was the type of slob who just dumps his trash on the sidewalk. Take me off the list please!"

Lighten up Jon. There are assholes everywhere. I get lots of email (hundreds every month) ratings/comments on my sites. A few disagree with me, some strongly. And Somewhere around 1%, are just plain stupid, like above. When you lay yourself open to the public, as we all do when we publish (either seriously in books, or on the Net), you are bound to strike some the wrong way. And in an open forum like the net, there is bound to be assholes lurking around. It's the price we pay for having openness and an opinion.

I don't always care about what you write but I am nearly always interested in reading it, if only to get another point of view. If you set up a separate list, be sure to include me, even though I ain't an opera fan {g}. More like Willy Nelson or Blind Lemon Jefferson or Elvis or the Duke or Ella or ...

TTL............................Gösta Lovgren Gosta@SwedesDock.com


Dear Jonathan:

I support free speech and your messages/stories about your personal experiences were very helpful to my family members who live or have family members who live in Manhatten and Virginia.

Please keep me on this list and add me to your newly creative writing listserv about Year Zero.

~patricia christine aqiimuk paul, jd aqiimuk@altavista.com


Jonathan....

Please include me in the Year Zero list if you establish one.

I enjoy reading your comments - it is important to gain a wide perspective of how recent events have affected people and to understand what is going on.

There is nothing wrong with emotion that comes from the heart - and nothing wrong with showing it.

Kind regards....Andrew Pursey ur010990@a1.com.au


Dear Mr. Wallace;

These essays have been among the best writings I've seen produced by anybody since the fall of the Towers.

I would very much like to continue receiving them.

I appreciate the courage you've shown by your willingness to share what you've seen and felt since the day it happened.

(I also enjoy reading the monthly online writings, too.)

Thank you,

Ariel Stone ferretus01@yahoo.com


Dear Mr. Wallace:

Please do include me on the Year Zero list. Sometimes the personal level of your recent essays touches a discomfort nerve but your storytelling is considered and real and your writing is excellent. I lived in New York for 8 years and now live on the edge of the world. You have connected me to September 11 and the aftermath while the media made it into Independence Day. Keep on doing what you're doing.

Sara Chapman in New Zealand, seashells@paradise.net.nz


Hey Jonathan,

Keep me on the Year Zero list, please.

Also, I've learned over the last few years that as long as you clearly let people know how to remove themselves from your list, anyone who complains is more easy to ignore. I do not know how large your list is, but it is worth noting that for every complaint that you get, you have a whole lot more people who are just waiting for your next posting.....

paz!

Abraham Bonowitz abe@cuadp.org


Dear Mr. Wallace:

Since you asked...I thought I'd take the opportunity to say that yes, I have found some of what you have written lately rather disturbing - but these are, after all, disturbing subjects, are they not - and, let's face it, if you're only telling me what doesn't disturb me, e.g., what I might tell myself in the absence of the Ethical Spectacle - what is the point of the newsletter and the web site. Keep the mailings coming, keeping in mind that what plays where you are sounds very different to someone like yours truly in Canada, etc. Many Americans (including you!) think they know this, but they truly don't, no matter how enlightened they are.

Thanks for the mailings so far.

Regards

Melissa Pilon mapilon@cyberus.ca


Hi Jonathan Wallace--

Please keep me on any and all of your mailing lists. People who write messages such as the one you relay need to develop a sense of humor and should definitely spend more time outside in the fresh air, away from their computers!

While I don't always agree with your position on terrorism and the events since September 11, I welcome any serious discussion and enjoy very much your writing style. Your Red Cross driving experiences were very real to read, and very interesting. It is interesting for me, here in the midwest where the newspaper prints of American flags hang in every window, turning from red white and blue to pale pink, light blue and tan, and most people confuse patirotism with blind support for ANY government policy, to read the reactions from a thoughtful person who is so close to the events.

SO keep them coming!

Karen Lindquist klindqui@monroe.lib.mi.us


Dear Jonathan:

Food for thought-

They are already talking about rebuilding on the remains of the WTC. (Something like 4 fifty story commercial buildings).

How about presenting the idea of building a smaller version of the original complex (5 or 10 stories each) to house mementos and memorabilia submitted by the families of the victims and the hero's? Something like the Holocaust museum here in DC.

Shouldn't build a commercial venture on hallowed ground.

"Knowledge is power, truth is freedom!"

Edward Gugliucci falcon@en.com


Dear Jonathan:

In your essay The Urns you said:

I was afraid I would hit on a mental health worker like my second partner, who would cut me open in a misguided act of "compassion".

In fact, that act was a great thing to do. Crying _releases_ the grief, it does not make it worse. To think that crying is the grief and that suppressing the crying alleviates the grief is a mistake a lot of people make. In fact it is just the opposite. Crying is the outward manifestation of the healing of grief.

Look around for Re-evaluation Counseling or Co-counseling to find out more. I know there are lots of people who practice it in NYC. See also www.rc.org.

And thanks for your writings!

Bill Meacham -- bmeacham@bmeacham.com -- http://www.bmeacham.com


Hi Jonathan,

Please do keep me on the Year Zero list. Though I moved away from NYC two years ago, I happened to be there from Sept. 5-29. I'm very moved by what you've been sending. I had a very hard time with the experience only realizing the full impact once I left NYC and was alone with the experience in the NC Mountains.

Your line in the posters article about 'steering clear of the missing and the dead as if in an endangered raft steering clear of the ship' (I paraphrase, but I assume you know the line) spoke volumes to me. I had complete identification.

I used to live in Tribeca as a number of my friends still do. They were displaced and grieving. One friend lost his 3 closest friends, lived in Battery Park South and 10 days later, lost his job. I felt that for me to feel anything about 9-11 was petty in light of those around me who lost so much more. Didn't change the fact that it was in there to feel, rather it merely procrastinated the inevitable and kept me wound tight as an eight day clock in the meantime.

I was very fortunate to have good friends around me daily for at least two weeks afterwards. We took such good care of each other. After awhile, it became clear that it seemed urgent to be there for others. It was the only thing that kept our own crumbling selves together and the horror at bay. I do remember on that Saturday, 6 of us were walking to dinner. As we approached the arch at Washington Square, I found myself instintively hurrying past, walking at top speed. The fence had become a shrine and part of me knew that to let any of it in would shatter the semblance of 'okay' I had reached.

One friend grabbed me just before I walked out into traffic. From that point on, we had designated street monitors for the evening so that we were all allowed time to be dazed. And at that moment, the act of taking care of each other in such a way seemed to me as tender and warm as a mother cradling a newborn.

The friend who grabbed me was someone who lived way downtown. We couldn't get him out of there until Friday. We reached him on his cell phone on his roof where he was watching Bush's visit with binoculars. He was livid that he was standing there in the position to kill the president of the US and no one noticed. Some later said he probably was being watched, but I have my doubts after watching the hyper attention cops started paying to anything out of the normal. Who knows? All I do know is that it spoke volumes about how unsafe he felt. And he's a very together guy who works on the floor of the Stock Exchange. He kept making jokes about when it would be convenient to cry that evening. He'd "check his Palm Pilot...Easter looked good." Towards the end of the evening, we were crossing 6th at Bleecker where another shrine had gone up in a fence at the end of Minetta. It caught him for a moment and once again, he started to joke about when he would cry. I told him he would cry when he felt safe. He stopped, looked and said, "You're right."

Days later, he finally put on a clean pair of shoes abandoning the grey dust covered shoes he had worn like a badge of courage. And he was actually touched that anyone noticed. And it was the first sign I had seen from him that he was on his way back.

I stood and watched events unfold from just above Houston St. in the West Village. And I wondered whether or not I had to move my car and the thought seemed so ridiculous to even think. I took pictures. It gave me some emotional distance from reality though I felt like a ghoulish voyeur doing so. After the second collapse, I didn't know what to do and checking on the car was the only thing I could think of doing. When I tried to ask a cop about alternate side parking, I ended up bursting into tears. It was the first time I spoke. So I did walk over to where I had parked and will always remember one delivery van on Cornelia St.

While everywhere, small groups were huddled around cars with radios to find out what was going on, this one van had classical music blaring loudly from inside. He must have been trying to do what he could to comfort. No one can convince me he leaves it on at that volume on a normal day.

Going to the grocery store that day felt wrong. Doing anything normal felt wrong. For a month, I couldn't read a full page, get through a whole movie, sleep more than 4 hours and eating became what I knew I had to do once a day. Around two weeks later, I went shopping all over for a pair of shoes and came up empty. You know you're in trouble when you can't find a pair of shoes to buy in Manhattan. And when I got back to NC, oh God did I ever feel alone. It was all I could do to stay put and not rush back to my friends. A sympathetic ear is one thing, but an undestanding ear is sometimes the only thing that helps. I didn't want to hear about how hard it was to watch from NC.

The first night back I went into the grocery store, couldn't remember why I was there and started crying. If I had been in the city, strangers would have understood without questioning, perhaps just an offer to be there. Here, I was a freak and no one instantly associates it with what happened. One night, I went to an ATM that smelled very close to what it smelled like there and again, like the posters, I just wanted to run away from it.

And as you know, what I've written here is only an iota of all that's inside around this...a moment of silence with 33,000 people at Yankee Stadium their first game back...tipping my cap to firemen as they returned those first few days...talking to the Miami Cops who had driven up the day after to help...the buzzing of the city by jet fighters on Friday...the sound of that first plane and second explosion...knowing what I was watching in terms of people dying...a friend who had traded shifts at Windows on the World and lived so close he watched the faces of his coworkers through binoculars as they jumped. That raft you alluded to in the posters article was afloat in a sea of pain.

I'm moving back to NY and I knew that before 9-11. One of the reasons I was there was to look for an apartment. Nothing had changed except perhaps the time frame. I wanted to come up in December. Now, it will be anywhere between January and June.

Anyway, for what it's worth to you, Year Zero helps me a lot. I get to feel less alone in my reaction. Like talking to my friends pretty much daily, it helps me with perspective on my feelings. I'm not crazy. I'm traumatized. And that doesn't fall into a victim category. It falls into a human category.

Thank you and keep 'em coming.

Leslie Aldredge leslie@shagg.com


Dear Mr. Wallace,

The day that our country was required to reinvent itself and the crazies of the world held the upper hand I was teaching a junior high school class. Actually, the class was taking a geometry test. No television in the room and noway of knowing what had happened in New York and Washington D.C.. At passing time another teacheer said that I may want to turn on the TV and let the students follow what was happening.

I could not believe what I saw and I remembered Nov 22,1963. As a high school senior we were taking a trig test and the similarities were unusual. The disparities were even more remarkable. We had no televison in the classrooms of the early 60s. We we told over the PA of the fact that the President was shot. (No announcement tht an act terror of no know previous magnitude had taken place 9/11) We were dismissed early in 1963. Class as usual 9/11. We were actually told to turn off the televisons to prevent shocking students about the unbelivable horror.

The events of the past two weeks and the fact that people are not able to trust the mails and that the siege mentality that the postal terrorists and the al-qaeda terrorists have perpetrated should continue wothout knowing how each of us feels. I wish to be on your Year Zero mailing list and to continu to read the human subtext to these events. Your objectivity as a reporter is for certain well intentioned, but we need to know that there is the other side to the Wallaces, Brokaws, Jennings et al. Thank you for what you have written and I will look forward to reading more in the future.

Sincerely, Daniel Determann dawide@excite.com


Dear Jonathan:

I appreciate the fact that you are taking the time to try and impart to those of us who live in the hinter lands of America something of what this recent catastrophe meant to a resident of "the place". The personal side is good. We get plenty of the cookie-cutter bombast and plastic sorrow/sympathy from the daily news broadcasts.

One more thing.. Was I wrong in assuming you to be a liberal pacifist when I read your pre-11Sept issues of the Ethical Spectacle? If so, I apologize. Anyway, I like your stuff. Agree or not, it makes one think.

Lloyd Westerman orion@surfsouth.com


Dear Jonathan,

Aw c'mon, don't let a few negatives get you down. We're all pretty sensitive right now. You can't read "Year Zero" without feeling those same emotions again, and some people are just not ready for that. Better to worry about littering, or whatever.

We in the hinterlands feel survivor guilt too, and the electronic images are fading pretty quickly. I need to think about this a little more, and your pieces are a good starting point. I didn't get that dark, sinking emptiness in the chest that I felt as a child on being left in the hospital by my parents, and again when John Kennedy was killed. As a young Marine I had been assigned to guard the President's helicopter on the day of his inauguration. How could a Marine do what Lee Oswald did? When Kennedy died I was a month away from my last duty station, only a few miles from Hiroshima. How can anyone do anything like that, and yet we can, we do.

At the end of September I turned sixty-five. I can't duck this one. If not my generation, who? I was nine when nine-year-old Japanese kids in sailor suits saw their last light. All my cohort, we have seen it all, have we yet seen the light?

Keep on sending "Year Zero", if not for my sake, then for yours.

Thanks,

Daniel Deadwyler ddedwylr@email.uncc.edu


Jonathan,

You're right, I did not sign up for the very personal things in those pieces you wrote. However, I hope you don't take my signing-off personally. You write well, but your series just wasn't to my taste. You seem like a nice human being; although we have some political disagreements, I wouldn't mind having you for a neighbor. "Year Zero" seems more like something for the type of reader who likes to read correspondence from various presidents (e.g., "Letters of Harry Truman").

The pieces I DID like were your first one (that was priceless. First-person accounts aren't something I often get) & the one criticizing the pacifist stance which some of the left have adopted. You argued politely but logically & firmly. Those arguing against the war effort ARE under a "serious misapprehension". While I don't approve of the bombing in Afghanistan, I recognize that this is not a situation which civilian law & order is equipped for. Good luck to you in your Red Cross work & elsewhere.

Joseph Schechter schechtr@sfsu.edu


Everything else
Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for putting the ethical spectacle on the radar of the internet.

I collect quotes and really enjoyed the Ghandi quote you wrote at the end of your bio. I wanted to give you 2 more Ghandi quotes:

* an eye for an eye and the entire world goes blind

* there is enough for the needy...but never enough for the greedy.

Keep your dreams alive, for if they die they are like a broken winged bird that can not fly (langston hughes)

The question I continue to ask myself is "what am I doing to stop oppression and injustice in the world?" Thanks for giving me some ideas!

Shalom, Sandra Foyil sandra.foyil@spencergifts.com


Sir, I am trying to find out about the Camp Terezin deception. All I know is that it was a "Make believe" Camp to show the world that Jews were cared for in a respectful manner?

Why is there not much info on the net.

TX Tony Singh singa@infinet.net


Dear Mr. Wallace:

At http://www.spectacle.org/695/god.html you quote Karen Armstrong, A History of God, (Ballantine Books, 1993):

The horror of Auschwitz is a stark challenge to many of the more conventional ideas of God. The remote God of the philosophers....becomes intolerable. Many Jews can no longer subscribe to the biblical idea of God who manifests himself in history, who, they say with Wiesel, died in Auschwitz. The idea of a personal God, like one of us writ large, is fraught with difficulty. If this God is omnipotent, he could have prevented the Holocaust. If he was unable to stop it, he is impotent and useless; if he could have stopped it and chose not to, he is a monster. Jews are not the only people who believe that the Holocaust put an end to conventional theology.

> Should have thought of that when she came down with the flu last year. Why is Auschwitz the proof? You are going to die anyway (and suffer along the way). As old John Keynes said, "In the final analysis, we're all dead." As if the criminal court judge must stop a false witness from having his say before the judge finds the verdict. I think Auschwitz was an ultimate representation of human wickedness, but so what? That you scraped your knee as a kid and God didn't prevent it, what does that say, and why would you find that Ok with belief in God, while something a bit worse then compels you to reject belief in God? Ultimately, either somebody is to blame for the fact that we ever suffer any evil, or you should just shut up and carry on as an animal does (and don't bring up primate psychology, because there are lots of humans who just take the punches and carry on). That a band of Jews have some kind of collective Cinderella complex is no reason for them to reject their God. Some kids scrape their knee and when mommy doesn't come rushing up to kiss it better because she is in the shower and doesn't see it, they bawl as if they are abandoned and unloved. Grow up!

pnpmacknam@quest.net


dear Jonathan:

I am a 33 year old male. I deer hunt , turkey and bird hunt and on ocassion fox and coyoute. now the way i read it is we dont kneed hand guns feel free to reply and correct me if im wrong. but that is the way i read it. well i dont alway use a rifle or bow or shotgun sometimes i use a hand gun and being a State Trooper i have a service weapon also and many other non-hunting weapons like AR 15s, M14 M1carbine and a Ak47 some of which i extremely enjoy going to the reang to shoot along with my various pistols. See Jonathan if we allow them to take one kind of weapon where does it end at. The criminal is going to get his I served in the 2nd ranger battalion during operation just cause now i was there serving my country doing what my goverment asked me to do because i wanted to if we werent a armed society there is no telling what they would be making us do would you like to live in 1930,40 germany if you allow them to take one they will come after the rest ask the 600,000,000 million jews that hitler disarmed and i believe they woud tell you not to give up your right none of them.

Ricky Tutterow ricky776@home.com


Hello, I am a Canadian Jew living in Amsterdam for the next year or so. Over the Christmas holidays, I have decided to visit some of the concentration camps in Germany and potentially Warsaw. In particular I am thinking of visiting Dachau, Aushwitz, Treblinka, and Cheemo. Visit doesn't seem like the appropriate word, but it will have to do.

The help I am looking for is any directions / information on where these sites are exactly located and anything else I may need to know in visiting, i.e. hours of operation.

Any help would be appreciated,

Ben Reentovich ben.reentovich@nl.pwcglobal.com


Dear Jonathan:

I briefly skimmed through your site and found out the big national missile defense thing is even worse than I thought, (esp. the computer locking up). Anyway did you know we have in service, and have tested and verified, Patriot PAC-3 systems with PAC-3 missiles (PAC means Patriot Advanced Capability) that can engage and destroy targets that maneuver and are the size of soccerballs! What that means, is that we ALREADY have a system that could be networked together quietly to protect the US from ICBMs, theater class missiles, aircraft, and high speed cruise missiles all at the same time. It has been tested like 12 times with over 90% success and is inexpensive. So that is something to consider in addition to the fact that the Soviet Union and Russians violated that ABM Treaty of '72 and still do by deploying a network of SAMS capable (and tested successfully) of diverting incoming ICBM warheads, so to hell with the US holding up our side of the agreement now. The solution is more PAC-3s and whether you like it or not, we have already ordered 1,200 of them and that is the DECLASSIFIED number!

-Brad Clowdis bradclowdis@altavista.com


Dear Mr. Wallace:

I would like information about the status of the Nuremberg files case. Your website is last dated 1999. I believe the case is being appealed now but I don't know what court it is in or who won the first round (I believe it was the list makers, but not sure). Thank you for your help.

Bernice Goldmark berng@mindspring.com


Dear Mr. Wallace:

hi, i just visited your site, the alphabet of auschwitz and i have a question i have been trying to answer for years. when i was in school, my class was shown a movie about auschwitz. it was about a young woman and it showed her trip to aushwitz and what life was like in the camp. i want to see this movie again, but i do not know the name!! the only tip i have about the movie was that it was the only film ever given permission to be filmed in the actual camp. steven spielberg himself couldn't get the permission for making schindler's list there. any help you can offer in tracking down the title would be great.

thanks, Angelique C Cheppo Angelique.X.Cheppo@mortgage.wellsFargo.COM


"The most important lesson one can learn from Auschwitz is that God does not exist...there are only two possibilities: either God caused (or at least permitted) the destruction of the Jews, the Gypsies and the other victims, or God does not care...On the other hand, if God does not care, why believe in Him?...All compassion and all hatred in the human universe is ours. We are on our own." As i was searching for information on my school essay concerning Auschwitz, i came across the previous opinions. Although i am not yet out of highschool, i though that it best i set you straight on a few things.

First of all, you say there are only two possibilites. May I add another? Or possibly two? Suppose there is a God. Maybe this God was disapointed in his Jews. Or knew the Jews were doing something that was not his will? Supose that this God decided to let evil take so many lives to show the world what it would be like without him? Maybe this God needed something like this to turn the heads of the world and instead of focusing on the world and things that will only last so long, focus on the bigger picture: spending a whole etenity in paridise? It seems that you have a very worldly veiw on this subject.  Have you ever had to give something of you own to benifit someone else? Do you think that God, if there is such a thing as you question, would be willing to sacracfice many of his people from the earth to come up with him and to have many other people turn to him who would eventually join him there instead of going to hell? Its seems very logical when i look at it this way, God's way of doubling the number of people who will be in eternity with him. Hell doesn't seem like a place anybody would chose to go, but anyother choice exept God lead there.Hell is a real place, a fiery place where once u are burning, you never stop;you can't communicate to anybody else ever, the pain never becomes less, the burning never ends. Never.i must inform you, the God i know and love does have wrath.Many people are destroyed due to the fact that they never would have execpted God to begin with.

It seems to me that God let all these millions of people die is because he knew the world need a dose of reality.  He wanted the eyes on him, not the world.  Oh, and think how many much more company God would have in paridise! Is dying and going to heaven such a bad thing after all?I also believe that it is human to not understand things like these and it is a gift that i can comprehend all this, although some fail to do so in there whole lifetime. It is also human to hate, human to kill. I don't believe that it is human to love, for what is the reason we love? How do we know love? The only way we will know love is if someone else shows it to us. It seems impossible for human kind to make something us like that, greedy, selfish mankind

I look forward to hearing from you, this will be quite interesting to me! Thank you for the wonderful information on Auschwitz, also, its a big help on my essay. :

Hope i helped you past the boundries of your everyday thinking

Laura Miller


Hello,

Just a simple thanks - I stumbled across your website while researching Henry Miller online (there was a link to your page on free speech and the CDA). I then progressed to perusing the Sept 11 articles and Auchwitz Alphabet (I seem to be revisiting WWII a lot these days in my reading). Thanks for creating a thoughtful, intelligent forum at a time when it's sorely needed. May we all uphold our civic duty to fight for our freedom here at home as well as abroad.

-Clara Arlotto c_arlotto@hotmail.com


I found your website by doing a search on "Internet Ethical Issues" for my e-Law class, and think you did an outstanding job with what I have read so far. I will be back to read more later. Thank you so very much!!

Cyndi Nelson cyndaq@home.com