Tuesday, December 16, 2008

President Bush, shoes, and his failed legacy

I know that everyone has seen this video, but I do have a few comments on it. First the story of President Bush, shoes, and his failed legacy that is the U.S. war in Iraq. From The New York Times:

BAGHDAD — President Bush made a valedictory visit on Sunday to Iraq, the country that will largely define his legacy, but the trip will more likely be remembered for the unscripted moment when an Iraqi journalist hurled his shoes at Mr. Bush’s head and denounced him on live television as a “dog” who had delivered death and sorrow here from nearly six years of war.

The drama unfolded shortly after Mr. Bush appeared at a news conference in Baghdad with Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to highlight the newly adopted security agreement between the United States and Iraq. The agreement includes a commitment to withdraw all American forces by the end of 2011.

The Iraqi journalist, Muntader al-Zaidi, 28, a correspondent for Al Baghdadia, an independent Iraqi television station, stood up about 12 feet from Mr. Bush and shouted in Arabic: “This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog!” He then threw a shoe at Mr. Bush, who ducked and narrowly avoided it.

As stunned security agents and guards, officials and journalists watched, Mr. Zaidi then threw his other shoe, shouting in Arabic, “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!” That shoe also narrowly missed Mr. Bush as Prime Minister Maliki stuck a hand in front of the president’s face to help shield him.

Mr. Maliki’s security agents jumped on the man, wrestled him to the floor and hustled him out of the room. They kicked him and beat him until “he was crying like a woman,” said Mohammed Taher, a reporter for Afaq, a television station owned by the Dawa Party, which is led by Mr. Maliki. Mr. Zaidi was then detained on unspecified charges.

Other Iraqi journalists in the front row apologized to Mr. Bush, who was uninjured and tried to brush off the incident by making a joke. “All I can report is it is a size 10,” he said, continuing to take questions and noting the apologies. He also called the incident a sign of democracy, saying, “That’s what people do in a free society, draw attention to themselves,” as the man’s screaming could be heard outside.


Hitting someone with a shoe is considered the supreme insult in Iraq. It means that the target is even lower than the shoe, which is always on the ground and dirty. Crowds hurled their shoes at the giant statue of Mr. Hussein that stood in Baghdad’s Firdos Square before helping American marines pull it down on April 9, 2003, the day the capital fell. More recently in the same square, a far bigger crowd composed of Iraqis who had opposed the security agreement flung their shoes at an effigy of Mr. Bush before burning it.

In one sense, I almost feel sorry for President Bush. Here is a man who doesn't fully understand the significance of the shoes being thrown at him, nor does he understand the enormous amount of death and destruction he has brought upon the Iraqi people. President Bush still believes he will be vindicated by history for his sending the U.S. into this war. And yet, this shoe-thrower, Muntader al-Zaidi, has become a hero in the Arab world for expressing the Iraqi peoples' anger against the U.S. occupation. The American people still oppose the U.S. war in Iraq by a clear majority of over 60 percent. President Bush's disapproval ratings are still hovering around 70 percent, while President-elect Barack Obama's approval ratings are hovering at around 68-to-75 percent. And let us not forget how the entire world celebrated Barack Obama's victory in the U.S. presidential race. President Bush disgraced himself when he gave the order to invade Iraq. He disgraced himself with the failed U.S. occupation of Iraq, the failed reconstruction of Iraq, and now this shoe-throwing incident which clearly shows how he cannot even travel anywhere in the world without being exposed to protestation and derision. I do not think he even understands the contempt that the world has for him, considering how he made such a terrible joke about the shoe size. In around 34 days, George W. Bush will leave the Oval Office, and Barack Obama will be sworn in to clean up the entire mess that Bush left us with his failed legacy. I almost feel sorry for President George W. Bush.

But then again, with the terrible crap that Bush has left this country in, I do not.

No comments: