Who throws a shoe?


Actually, that Austin Powers quote has little to do with the point of this post — although it was a weird thing to do, a la Random Task….

What I do mean to point out is the fact that across the Mideast, the "Arab Street" was out en masse demonstrating in favor of the guy who did his utmost (by Middle Eastern standards) to insult President W. in Iraq — less than 24 hours after the incident. From The New York Times:

Barely 24 hours after the journalist, Muntader al-Zaidi, was tackled
and arrested for his actions at a Baghdad news conference, the
shoe-throwing incident was generating front-page headlines and
continuing television news coverage. A thinly veiled glee could be
discerned in much of the reporting, especially in the places where
anti-American sentiment runs deepest.

In Sadr City, the
sprawling Baghdad suburb that has seen some of the most intense
fighting between insurgents and American soldiers since the 2003
invasion, thousands of people marched in his defense. In Syria, he was
hailed as a hero. In Libya, he was given an award for courage….

What occurs to me is that this is an impressive display — or many impressive displays, I suppose — of organizational ability. Just think — if the energy and effort that goes into these spontaneous (and sometimes not so spontaneous) expressions of indignation were channeled into building viable industries or — dare we hope — self-government or respect for the rule of law — we’d never have another bit of trouble from that part of the world. Trouble is, a lot of these cultures and systems don’t do "constructive." But they certainly do resentment. You betcha.


27 thoughts on “Who throws a shoe?

  1. Lee Muller

    With the disrespect shown my American reporters for the office of the President, this is not surprising behavior from an Iraqi. His “news” is probably no more biased than a lot of what is published in the USA.

  2. gayguy

    But,Lee.What do you think about an Iraqi and his “shoes”? Would you want to be seen in a pair of those clodhoppers at one of your business meetings?

  3. Tiglath

    First off, the Iraqis have every right to protest against what the civilised world – in the world of former UN chief Kafe Annan – considers a war criminal. THe US has illegaly invaded and destroyed Iraq in order to remove the CIA installed dictator it installed and has now replaced with the CIA trained Al Qaeda.
    Secondly your view that the Middle Easterners are backwards and regressive is based on Western myths enshrined in Orientalism. it is so much easier to treat the Middle Easterners as the Other and blame them for our nation’s actions instead of sifting through the biased news and seeing things for what they truly are.
    Bush is a war criminal. Period. And now that he is leaving the protection of his office he and all his acomplices will be brought to justice hopefully in the ICC one day.

  4. Ozzie

    I’m thinking the true state of affairs is somewhere between the extremes of Brad and Tiglath. I mean no disrespect for a man that I consider to be a superb journalist, but Brad’s blue-eyed, apple-pie American pre-suppositions are indicative of the problems we’ve been facing in that part of the world for a long time. One look at the plight of Iraqi Christians in recent years ought to help adjust that point of view at least a little. We really do need to think twice about exporting our form of government to other parts of the world.
    There are a lot of military personnel, diplomats, and even politicians who are culturally sensitive and have promoted understanding between peoples. Unfortunately, our “cowboy-like” foreign policy, including the “shock and awe” tactics of a proud but destructive war effort, tends to trump all that in perceptions abroad. One wonders what will come of it in the end.
    Not that there isn’t some truth in what Brad has written, but his post, as it is too often in regard to foreign policy, is one of the old western movie black hat-white hat variety. It assumes a very tidy, but unrealistic world view.

  5. Karen McLeod

    The Iraqi infrastructure is mangled where it isn’t totally destroyed. People who have never worked together are told they must work together, without any effort being made to mend the very longstanding hatreds between the groups. They’ve lost a lot of lives, both directly from war and indirectly from those other riders with War (Disease and Famine). We can applaud how “our system” works, but we seem to convieniently we forget how many black/ white, protestant/catholic, southern/northern, city/country bigots we have on all of the sides, and how recently its been much worse. I’m not sure they have the organization to do anything but hate. And, of course, most of the people raging in the street don’t have the knowledge or skills to rebuild anything.

  6. jfx

    It was heartening to see the urgent accord of the journalists present, many of them Iraqis, who reacted swiftly to help quell the indecent protest of the rogue reporter.
    That said, it seems to me that Mr. Bush does not help his, or OUR, legacy, by cowboying once again into the heart of the Middle East on a “surprise” visit.
    Enough with the surprise visits. If we want to believe our own spin about the success of the surge…if we want to believe that we’ve done a good thing over there……and certainly if we want to advertise the physical security attained by our good-faith efforts…then shouldn’t our President have the balls to request, and openly announce, a visit with Mr. Maliki, as one head of state visiting another? Doesn’t Mr. Bush consider that continuing to drop into Iraq unannounced, as if he owns the place, might be a bit off-putting to the self-respecting citizens of sovereign Iraq? Or does he consider the people inferior, and their opinions irrelevant?
    I understand Mr. Bush’s desire to run a sort of ideological victory lap here at the end of his term, but this was poorly played. The farce of an impotent shoe-lobber becoming an overnight folk hero is a kind of just dessert for another clod-brained Captain America PR stunt.

  7. Randy E

    Brad, this reporter had spent time investigating the human collateral damage of Bush’s war. If I had seen the man responsible for instigating a “war” that has resulted in the death of women and children, I probably would call him a dog and throw a shoe as well.
    Should a reporter have done that? The death and despair easily overshadows that discussion.

  8. York "Budd" Durden

    A staged event, one designed to generate sympathy and pity for the Commander-in-Shrub during his last, bleak weeks in office. Otherwise, no explanation for why or how the secret service allowed the 2nd shoe to fly. (See also: Bush allowed to sit as an open target on 9/11 three miles from an airport while an unknown number of hijacked aircraft were flying around crashing into buildings. No reason other than foreknowledge of what planes were going where.)
    Now, the demonstrations that popped up were likely anticipated, a kind of collateral damage, duly considered but obviously decided as a necessary consequence for Operation Poor Poor Pitiful Me. Sort of like how we decide to drop ordinance and fire on targets, knowing all the while that a bunch of women and children will burn along with the supposed bad guys. Got to break a few eggs, etc etc.

  9. bud

    This is the Arab world’s equivalent to the Boston Tea Party. The shoe thrower has become something of a folk hero in that part of the world. As for Bush, maybe he just needs to stay home, decorate the White House and shut up. His irrelevancy is complete. His disrespect well earned. Yet the pro-war people STILL don’t get it.
    In typical Brad ‘miss the point’ fashion he yammers on about how the people of the region should devote more energy to building stuff rather than protesting. Read my virtual lips Mr. Warthen: They don’t want us there occupying their country. Why do the war-mongers have such a hard time understanding this simple point? It is beyond comprehension that some people just don’t get it. The good news is that 70% of Americans DO get it. A recent poll indicates that percentage of Americans want Obama to keep his promise of getting us out.

  10. Lee Muller

    Bush-haters pretend to be offended by the “collateral damage” of a relatively few civilians accidentally killed by US troops, but they ignore the thousands more intentionally murdered by Al Qaeda and other terrorists, and the millions murdered by Saddam Hussein until we stopped him.

  11. bud

    Fox News is at it again with their phony “war on Christmas” nonsense. This disgraceful, half-baked excuse for a news organization is really nothing more than the propaganda arm of the right-wing nuts of the GOP. I say it’s time to ignore this sorry so-called news channel with their hate mongering rhetoric. What a joke. This is an excerpt from News Hounds:
    In George Orwell’s 1984, the language spoken was “newspeak” – an alternative way of speaking that proscribed language that was acceptable to the totalitarian system and which categorized non acceptable speech as “crimespeak.” Fox News has developed its own language which we could consider “Foxspeak” which includes “homicide bombing” and “Merry Christmas” as the only way to express seasons greetings (whoops is that “crimespeak?”). In Foxworld, those who don’t say “Merry Christmas” (even if you’re Jewish, there’s no exemption) are scorned and reviled.

  12. martin

    democracy cannot be imposed. The people in a particular culture/society have to evolve to the point where the concepts involved are valued. This obviously is not the case in many places on the planet. Democracy will take place only where and when the inhabitants decide they are willing to die to make it happen.

  13. Lee Muller

    In Liberaland, events only happen when reported by Liberal Media.
    If the Clinton News Network or one of the Obama Channels doesn’t report that Sarah Palin’s church was burned, then it didn’t happen. It wouldn’t be a “hate crime”, anyway, because liberals don’t hate. They commit arson and murder out of love and a vision of perfection.
    So that anti-religious sign posted in the Washington State Capitol is just a fantasy. Disregard the pictures on your television.
    Those atheistic socialists whispering sacrireligious insults about Mitt Romney, shouting down Alan Keyes, and calling Sarah Palin a “cult follower”, were acting out of love.
    Jeremiah Wright shouting hatred of whites and Jews to his cult followers? Never happened, because it wasn’t reported by Democrat news centers. Just ask the Obamas. They never heard it. Ignore the videos.

  14. beetrave

    OMG that is a naive statement. Let’s turn it around and say, “Imagine if the impressive amount of blood and treasure poured into America’s civilizing mission in Iraq had been channeled into domestic projects such as rebuilding its infrastructure or — dare we hope — improving access to healthcare and education.” At what point would you start rolling your eyes, Mr. Warthen?
    The gummint’s own assessment of the reconstruction effort in Iraq shows why we have so many shoe-throwers. Yes, Saddam was an evil man, but we went in with no credible plans to rebuild and squandered untold billions. We did real harm to people there. We lowered the standard of living for millions. And now, when people are upset with the USA, folks like Mr. Warthen turn around and say that the shoe-throwers have an attitude problem. If we can’t figure out why Iraqis are so ungrateful & PO’ed about the situation there, perhaps we were never up to the job in the first place.

  15. Bart

    Ralph Peters in the NYPost had an interesting take on the shoe incident. Maybe it would be a good thing for those who hate Bush so much consider this:
    “When an Arab heel aimed those shoes at our president, it showed the world the extent to which Bush loosened the laces of Middle Eastern tyranny.
    If an Arab journalist had thrown his shoes at Saddam Hussein or one of his guests, the tosser would’ve been beaten, then tortured, then killed. Today’s Iraqi government is considering whether the man should be charged under the state’s democratically validated Constitution.
    Bush won. Even if shoe-thrower Muntadar al-Zaidi (who works for an Egypt-based media outfit) walks out in his stocking feet and becomes a hero to dead-enders, he unwittingly showed what a great thing has been accomplished in Iraq.”
    Yep, if Saddam Hussein was still ruling Iraq, the reporter would be drawn and quartered by now along with his family. Bush out to be ashamed of himself. Depriving the reporter of sure death by his actions.

  16. p.m.

    Thank you, Bart. When bud delivers pizza in Iraq, and understands that newspeak is a Democrat, not Fox News, mandate for conversation, maybe then we can all just get along.
    But I don’t expect it, because he and his ilk need too much.

  17. Bart

    York “Budd” Durden, does your tin foil beanie have the little propeller spinning around on top? Would seem to fit your comments and brilliant retorts. Damn, just what we need. Another conspiracy theorist who thinks Bush planned 9/11 on one hand but on the other, call him a dummy, idiot, retard, and anything else in their limited vocabulary. Wow! Think maybe Bush may be a savant? That would seem to be the only explanation for his genius in planning 9/11 and being so damn stupid on everything else. Now, another “Budd” insists that Bush actually planned the shoe tossing incident. What next?

  18. bud

    It’s time for the GOP to do a little “sole” searching. The man who leads their party has become a laughing stock around the world at best. At worst, he’s despised for his brazen acts of aggression. Yet on the basis of the silly posts by many on the right here it’s clear that the Rush Limbaugh fantasy world continues to hold sway over the koolaid drinking fools who continue to follow this idiot right off the cliff.
    Let’s get one thing straight. The shoe throwing incident does NOT reflect any sort of success by the Bush administration. It’s a clarion call by a disgruntled people who wish our occupying forces be withdrawn. The shoe thrower will likely receive a harsh punishment for his actions, perhaps torture or a long jail sentence. This whole notion that this represents an act of “free speech” is laughable. How people can be so deluded in their beliefs shows how imbedded the sense of denial has become among the Limbaugh faithful. Despite more than 10,000 documented cases of false statements by Limbaugh the lemings continue to put stock in this charleton. But the 20 or so million faithful followers of brother Rush reprsent only a tiny minority of Americans. And that’s a good thing.

  19. bud

    Instead of throwing shoes the countries have found a different way to disrespect the American president:
    Bush Excluded by Latin Summit as China, Russia Loom
    By Joshua Goodman
    Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) — Latin American and Caribbean leaders gathering in Brazil tomorrow will mark a historic occasion: a region-wide summit that excludes the United States.
    Almost two centuries after President James Monroe declared Latin America a U.S. sphere of influence, the region is breaking away. From socialist-leaning Venezuela to market-friendly Brazil, governments are expanding military, economic and diplomatic ties with potential U.S. adversaries such as China, Russia and Iran.

  20. bud

    Instead of throwing shoes the countries have found a different way to disrespect the American president:
    Bush Excluded by Latin Summit as China, Russia Loom
    By Joshua Goodman
    Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) — Latin American and Caribbean leaders gathering in Brazil tomorrow will mark a historic occasion: a region-wide summit that excludes the United States.
    Almost two centuries after President James Monroe declared Latin America a U.S. sphere of influence, the region is breaking away. From socialist-leaning Venezuela to market-friendly Brazil, governments are expanding military, economic and diplomatic ties with potential U.S. adversaries such as China, Russia and Iran.

  21. haskell

    I get the impression that the demonstrators must have a closet full of gear to riot in. Large banners written in arabic, stuffed straw men to burn, American flags to desecrate, shoes to throw or hold up for the camera. Certainly they all have had chanting, jumping and arm waving lessons. What a great bunch people.

  22. Birchibald T. Barlow

    Do you think we could raise funds to pay for Iraq and future wars by selling American flags across the world for burning? Demand is surely way up right now and we’d be stupid not to take advantage of this opporunity.
    And just think, the more wars Bush/Obama get us into the more flags we sell! We can’t lose!

  23. Harry Harris

    I consider the shoe-throwing incident disrespectful and out-of-bounds. I also think the shoe-throwing websites and much of the ongoing humor is in bad taste and over the top. I would, however, fear that if President Bush showed up in many parts of our country to address ordinary citizens he might be pelted with empty wallets.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *