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He may be outrageous but patronizing Ibish will only strengthen him

Reader comment on item: [Hussein Ibish:] U.S. Arabs' Firebrand

Submitted by Robert R Montgomery (United States), Apr 18, 2003 at 14:51

As a doctoral candidate, T.A. union oprganizer, and member of the Graduate Student Senate at UMass-Amherst (1988-95) I had many an occasion to clash with Hussein Ibish. I found him, as you concede, a brilliant polemicist. Yes, Ibish alawys pushed his arguments "over the top," obviously for affect. In debates leading up to Gulf War I, Ibish argued in defense of the Hussein regime. But his arguments were always nuanced (i.e. Hussein's rise in the Iraqi Baath party was a setback for the cause of progessive Iraqi socialism. However, his regime did continue the successful modernization and development efforts of the Baath project... etc. etc.). Ibish's command of the facts of 20th century Middle East history was impressive.

Critics such as myself rarely found him to simply "make facts up" or to "multiply" facts. He was obviously "going places" and knew it. In no way was he "irrational" or even, "Sharptonesque." To simply tar articulate and passionate voices like Hussein Ibish's with these kinds of smears is to undermine your own credibility.
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