The Gustavian Weekly

Letters to the Editor (10/18/2013)

By The Weekly Staff | October 18, 2013 | Letters to the Editor

Response to Ryan Liebl’s Letter to the Editor:


Ryan Liebl states that Assad’s regime has not directly harmed the United States, but that the issue of direct harm is irrelevant.

On the contrary, the fact that Assad’s regime has not harmed the United States is extremely important, as any intervention in Syria by the United States would be regarded as an act of aggression.

This is the very reason that the United States has had trouble finding international support for its proposed military strike. Especially within the United Nations, as it would be intervention in a civil war, one that has not affected the United States.

To his next point, how Liebl can claim that President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is a dictator without serious consideration about Russia’s similarities to the United States is remarkable.

President Putin’s support of Syria is far more likely attributed to Russia’s economic interests, rather than a diabolical plot between the Russian Federation and Syria.

Furthermore, toppling a country’s ruler, with no clear plan of action to deal with the aftermath, is short-sighted and dangerous for all parties involved.

Far more curious in Liebl’s response is the reference to an “unholy alliance” between the Ayatollah Khomenini, President Putin, and Bashar al Assad.

Accusations such as these towards the Russian Federation are partly to blame for President Putin’s cold response towards United States’ initiatives against Syria and to the United States in general. This “unholy alliance” notion is reminiscent of Cold War rhetoric.

Witt’s arguments against intervention may not be the most convincing, but Liebl presents no viable reasons for intervention besides the Cold War rhetoric of spreading democracy.


Izaak Hagen, ‘16




We’re All Guys Here


In response to last week’s opinion article, “Hey you guys,” I would like to look at the historical usage of the word guys.

Readers might find it surprising that the term guys has very little historical association with men. In fact, for over a century, it has referred to a mixed group of both men and women.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary — the commonly regarded authority on the evolution of meaning in the English language — the first usage of guy referred to a guiding rope and was commonly used throughout the 1600s until the 1800s.

By that time, its usage broadened to include references to Guy Fawkes, his effigies, and common people in general. The first noted usage of the term guys to refer to men was in the U.S. in 1847, and it did not remain an exclusive term for long. Within 50 years, it became an inclusive term to describe both men and women, and it has retained that significance throughout the last century.

Knowing this, I have no problem using guys to describe any group of people, and I believe it is the farthest thing from perpetuating gendered language. By labeling the ungendered term, guys, as masculine, we’re contributing to gendering rather than eliminating it.

Call me a lady, call me a guy, call me a woman, but don’t call me a girl.


Rebecca Hare, ‘14

1 Comment

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  1. Ryan Liebl says:

    The following is a response only to Izaak Hagen’s letter:

    First of all, I didn’t make an argument for intervention in Syria at this particular point in time. I said that we should’ve done so two years ago when the secular and democratic Free Syrian Army was still untainted by Islamist militant groups–laying the foundation for a democratic post-Assad government. Therefore, you read me incorrectly and your point about my being in favor of a military intervention “with no clear plan of action to deal with the aftermath” is invalid.

    You’re right to say that Syria’s civil war hasn’t harmed the US–making international support for military intervention hard to find–but I’m undeterred by this. Assad is a despot who is slaughtering thousands of his own people and we have the ability to put a stop to it. My argument was moral, not political. Again, you read me incorrectly.

    Regarding your confusion about my calling Putin a dictator, need I even respond? Clearly somebody who opportunistically alters the constitution of their country and manipulates its political system to remain in power for over a decade is manipulative and power hungry. He’s essentially outlawed all other political parties, seized control of Russia’s media, started a “Hitler-youth” organization called Nashi, and forbidden criticism of his government. Putin also enacted an expansionist slaughter in Chechnya and has had international diplomats poisoned for criticizing him. He’s is a power-hungry despot much like Assad.

    You’re again right to say that Russia has economic interests in Syria, but this hardly challenges my point. Since Assad and Putin are both known to be psychopathic autocrats, we should be suspicious of what they say. Keep in mind that Putin was the one who spread the egregiously false information that the rebels, not Assad’s army, used chemical weapons in August. He was defending his fellow dictator by deliberately spreading lies.

    You’re calling my depiction of the alliance between Assad, Hezbollah, Khomeini, and Putin “reminiscent of Cold War rhetoric” is cheap and empty. Instead of engaging with my argument, you dismiss my terminology with the trigger words “Cold War.” This is not a counter-argument. This is piffle.

    Can you honestly say that you don’t find Hezbollah, Assad, Khomeini, and Putin threatening to Western civilization? Hezbollah is an Islamic terrorist organization that spouts almost exclusively anti-Western rhetoric. Allied with the Ayatollah (and his anti-Israel vitriol), Hezbollah goes as far as to depict a mushroom cloud on their flag. I’ve already outlined some of Putin’s despotic actions above. If you don’t find this to be an “unholy alliance” that threatens democracy and liberalism more generally, I don’t know think you know what you’re talking about.