I remember watching news reports of the invasion in Iraq and seeing the people of Baghdad strike a statue of Saddam Hussein with their shoes. The commentator noted that throwing shoes at someone was a "grave insult in the Arab world".
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Today, as President Bush made his last visit to Iraq, an Iraqi journalist threw, not one, but both shoes at the President and called him a "dog" as he was escorted by the secret service out the door.
Say what you want about President Bush - and I will in an upcoming blog post - but I find the contrast amusing. The people of Iraq could only criticize and insult Saddam when he was presumed dead and without power over their lives. To have thrown a shoe at Saddam would have meant death at best and, more probably, torture.
Interestingly, after being tackled - shown at left - and escorted out of the press conference, nothing further was done to the enraged journalist.
Somewhat ironically, in protesting a US war and security action he at the same time showed its benefit to Iraq and the Arab world as a whole.
Do not misunderstand what I am saying. I am - with the benefit of hindsight - saying that Iraq was a good idea, was done well, was done anywhere near well, or that it will ever be what the American public was told it could be.
What I am saying is that, but for President George W. Bush, had that journalist done the same to Saddam, he would be dead.
Pictured Below: The identified journalist, Muntadar al-Zeidi, utilizing his newly found right of free-speech. (And, if Iraq is anything like the United States, talking to an attorney about a civil-suit for Assault).
UPDATE: The video has become available.