In Response to “Obama on Syria”
Cory Witt correctly says that Assad’s regime has not directly harmed the US, but that’s hardly relevant. The regime has killed thousands of innocents and used weapons prohibited by the United Nations. The UN and US have the ability to stop Assad’s despotic rule and therefore have the responsibility to try and do so. The most persuasive argument against intervention in Syria is the possibility that Islamist groups take Assad’s place, yet Witt fails to mention this.
Why does Witt say that, because Putin is allied with Assad, we shouldn’t even consider intervention? Dictators often support each other and the above alliance gives us more reason to suspect the motives behind Putin’s diplomatic solution.
Witt also suggests that United States’ foreign policy is so tainted by our support of despots like Bin Laden that we must avoid further intervention. If anything, this should encourage us to intervene on the right side and undo the damage we’ve done.
Witt accuses Obama of hypocrisy for entertaining interventionist foreign policy when he formerly criticized Bush’s. However, Witt fails to acknowledge that Obama favored only a surgical strike aimed at the destruction of chemical weapons—a policy that led to Assad’s willingness to hand over his stockpile. Not all interventionist policies are the same.
The UN and the US should have intervened two years ago in Syria—before Islamist groups joined the rebellion en masse—in order to facilitate democracy. Our failure to act is what got us here, with a pathetic diplomatic solution that only slightly contains the violence and allows the unholy alliance between the Ayatollah Khomeini (plus Hezbollah), Putin, and Bashar al Assad to continue. We find ourselves in a difficult foreign policy situation at this point, but Witt’s arguments against intervention (a tenable position in and of itself) are empty.
Ryan Liebl ’16
There is an odd disconnect between our infamously orthodox administration and the Chaplains’ Office’s recent decision to stop holding regular Sunday morning services. It is this disconnect that makes me think that the decision was made less out of politics, more out of laziness. If Sunday morning services are insufficiently attended, surely better outreach is the answer. Not fewer services.
Students enter college in a state of utter confusion. For four years, the rules they lived by are challenged by people who are older, smarter, and far more liberal than they probably will ever be. The self changes on a very profound, terrifying level. This chaotic experience catalists a wonderful evolution in some, and instills spite in others.
It is important for students who come into college from a church setting to have something familiar to look at that they love. We have that in corporeality in our architecturally astonishing Christ Chapel. What a beautiful building to go unused. What wonderful colors and angles it has.
Christianity is about evangelizing. Plenty of GAC students choose to attend Sunday morning services off campus. But I have seen townies on Sunday morning in Christ Chapel. To deny them the opportunity to join our student body (however few there are) in celebrating a permanent form of love in a building that instills awe is a disservice to their good will. It is also a slap in the face to all Gustavus students and alumni who continue to hold their faith dearly.
I speak for myself and a few alumni when I say that if the Chaplains’ Office wants to bring back Sunday morning services, we will help with your outreach efforts.
Ethan Marxhausen ’12