March 2010

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Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

Spectacle Letters Column Guidelines. If you write to me about something you read in the Spectacle, I will assume the letter is for publication. If it is not, please tell me, and I will respect that. If you want the letter published, but without your name attached, I will do so. I will not include your email address unless you ask me to. This is in response to many of you who have expressed concern that spammers are finding your email address here. Flames are an exception. T hey will be published in full, with name and email address. I have actually had people follow up on a published flame by complaining that they thought they were insulting my ancestry privately. Nope, sorry.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I read your article about military tribunals and I totally agree. I argue with my friends and colleagues about this daily. I'll forward this link and share with as many people possible so they understand the severity of following through with these tribunals. Thanks.

Air Force Attorney Advisor

Mr. Wallace,

I am a student at the Naval Post-Graduate School in Monterey, CA. I am currently writing a paper on torture, which led me to your very well written explanation of Military Tribunals. After reading the entire document, I had to know who "Jonathan Wallace" was so; I read your bio.

Sir, I just want to say that I hope that I can have a life as rich in experiences as you have had to date. In addition, I hope that I can develop my writing skills over the next few years so that I may tell my story in a way that fascinates a reader. I don't know if your life seems as adventurous to you as it does to me but, I am envious. I only wish my parents, who are your age, soaked in the experiences of your generation with as much zeal as you.

I look forward to reading your other articles in the near future. Unfortunately, I have a paper of my own to write which is due tomorrow.

Thank you for the inspiration!


In the last month, I've received a lot of mail from people in the military reacting to this article, mostly with approval. I find it reassuring there are people in the military committed to the civilian court system.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I read your article on the use of military tribunals. I find myself agreeing with you that we should use our civilian courts to try al queada members if at all possible. I have a son in the military and I am concerned about alot of things. But I understand our criminal justice system and I trust it. I understand Courts Martial. I do not have a good understanding of Military Tribunals and I am not sure I trust them. I have absolutely no legal training.




I was taken by your February Rags and Bones item "Scapegoating EMS." I agree that it's terrible to seek headlines by scapegoating people who have done nothing wrong. I hope that the EMTs in question come out of the affair unscathed.

May I assume that you have come around to the position that scapegoating law-abiding gun owners with so-called gun-control laws is wrong? After all, it is clearly and beyond-overwhelmingly shown that they do nothing wrong or illegal with their firearms.


Bruce Clark

Ha, cute trick question from an old friend.


Recently I read the following quote:

BRUSSELS (AFP) China lacks the moral authority, including over the question of Tibet, to be a true superpower, the Dalai Lama said Thursday during a European tour that has angered Beijing.

After addressing the EU parliament in Brussels, the Tibetan spiritual leader said China "deserves to be a superpower" given its huge population and economic and military strength.

"Now one important factor is moral authority and that is lacking," he told a press conference in Brussels.

"Because of its very poor record on human rights and religious freedom and freedom of expression and freedom of the press -- too much censorship -- the image of China in the field of moral authority is very, very poor," he said.

As you have written extensively on censorship on the internet, I'd love to get your take on the notion that too much censorship is somehow immoral. I thought censorship, at least from its Roman antecedents, was used to enforce morality.

My question is: is the Dalai Lama all wet here or is there a moral and ethical component to censorship that I'm missing?

Your Friend,

Thomas Vincent

This one feels like a trick question too, but maybe its just that kind of day...

Re the Craigslist piece: craigslist Whiner.html

Enjoy---but bring your asbestos undies, I was feeling rowdy.


As I wrote to the author, I characterize our disagreement as follows:

Jonathan Wallace: I don't like Craigslist because anyone can flag and delete your post for any reason,and when you complain about it on the help forums, you are insulted by rude anonymous trolls.

"Newowl": You deserve to be insulted, you jerk! I will flag and delete anything I damn feel like! You're a moron not to like Craigslist!!!!!!