Alex Blaze

Bush doesn't understand the shoe-thrower

Filed By Alex Blaze | December 16, 2008 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, George W. Bush, iraq, Iraq War, iraq war, pardon, shoe thrower, terrorism, war crimes

This shoe-throwing incident is a perfect symbol of Bush's entire presidency. In an interview with ABC's Martha Raddatz afterwards, he showed about as much awareness as he's shown over the last 8 years:

Raddatz: It's also considered a huge insult in this world, the sole of a shoe, throwing a shoe.

Bush: I guess. Look they were humiliated. The press corps, the rest of the Iraqi press corps was humiliated. These guys were just besides themselves about, they felt like he had disgraced their entire press corps and I frankly, I didn't view it as, I thought it was interesting, I thought it was unusual to have a guy throw his shoe at you. But I'm not insulted. I don't hold it against the government. I don't think the Iraqi press corps as a whole is terrible. And so, the guy wanted to get on TV and he did. I don't know what his beef is. But whatever it is I'm sure somebody will hear it.

"This guy," aka Muntadhar al-Zaidi's, is a journalist who's been on TV numerous times. And his "beef" had to do with Bush invading that country, killing nearly a million of his compatriots, displacing 3 million others, torturing still others, attempting to steal the country's oil while destroying their infrastructure, all with the smug seal of approval from Bush's sense of Western superiority.

But I wouldn't expect someone like Bush to even begin to have an understanding of why this man might be mad at him. His level of understanding of why 9/11 happened was that terrorists were "jealous of our freedom." And he's repeatedly shown that he doesn't know the first thing about the region or even have the slightest bit of interest in understanding where these folks are coming from.

It's all the more infuriating because Bush has already received a de facto pardon; there's very little chance Obama, the Justice Department, or the Congress will take the steps necessary to hold Bush accountable for his war crimes. He's off the hook and worried about his legacy, while Al-Zaidi is apparently being tortured in prison:

Albaghdadia, the TV channel where the Iraqi Journalist Montather Al-Zeidi works, reports that an Iraqi MP (Ms. Zainab Al-Kanani) informed them that Montather's hand was broken in jail.

This confirms a lot of reports and rumors about Montather being subject to torture while the Iraqi authorities are interrogating and detaining him in some unspecified location.

Iraqi TV al-Sharqiya just reported on the news that AL-Zaidi is transferred to Camp Cropper prison [the Airport prison, managed by the American forces].

The TV Channel announced that Al-Zaidi is in a difficult condition, with broken ribs and signs of tortures on his thighs. Also he can not move his right arm.

Some people are calling for Bush to help al-Zaidi out. He said that he took it as interesting and humorous, so maybe he could make a phone call and ask someone to go easy on the guy. It's the least he could do in the spirit of Christian forgiveness.

It'd give us all a mind-fuck if he did, and there's really no reason he should pay his pardon forward.


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I dont know I am torn. There is part of me that despises Bush so much that I don't care that he was disrespected but there is another side of me that is angry that our country was disrespected. Regardless of our feelings of him, he is currently our president and he represents our country so I think I view the shoe throwing incident as that reporter throwing his shoes at America and for that I have no tolerance.

Renee, I appreciate your conflict. How do we move from caring about our country right or wrong to a more rational assessment? How do we turn from thinking about the thing (president as symbol) to the process (presidential actions that do or do not reflect our values). Thinking about processes is hard. We're trained to think about things. Churches teach us morality is something you have, not something you do. Our senses tell us apples and people are static things, not processes who change every day.

I don't know how to get there from here, but I'm pretty sure it's important.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 16, 2008 9:29 PM

Muntadhar al-Zaidi deserves a medal.

I've jointed three groups on Facebook, "I want to throw a shoe at Bush too," "Protect Muntadhar Al-Zaid (Shoe reporter) from Torture," and "FREE MUNTATHAR AL-ZAIDI NOW!!"

There are 2 big take-aways from this for me. First, Bush doesn't care that he doesn't get it. He's talking to his base back home. He never talked to or for anybody else. The whole point of the Iraq war was to win the 2002 midterm elections by calling Democrats traitors and taking the focus off his own incompetence. The actual invasion in 2003 was an inconvenience, having to pay off on his chest pounding. He'd already achieved what he intended. That explained the cluster fuck of the occupation. He never cared.

The second big take-away is Storm Bear's recent cartoon. It make me cry.

Yup, Gold Star moms, your kids died so the Republicans could win the 2002 midterm elections.

"I don't know what his beef is."

Please! Not even Bush is that stupid!

One reason Bush is viewed as stupid is that playing dumb is one of his tactics. By making light of this incident, Bush avoids entering into any meaningful dialogue with the incident or the perpetrator, and makes it all the easier for the world to frame Al-Zaidi as a nutcase.

In a way, Al-Zaidi is a nutcase --- he did something impulsive, futile, and ultimately self-destructive, something which will screw up the rest of his life, or maybe cost him his life, instead of doing what little he can to work against the situation in some potentially effective manner.

One of the things I have learned in the South is that some people wear their ignorance as some kind of a badge or medal. They brag about not wanting to be educated about things or others, because they are afraid it will make it harder to hate them. They see remaining stupid as an excuse to say, "I didn't know that." And, even if you try to educate them, their brain capacity is so small that they couldn't get a new thought in there with dynamite. Sounds like I'm describing Bush rather well.

I actually felt rather sorry for Bush for getting a shoe thrown at him until he made that ass stupid statement. If Bush doesn't know why they guy threw a shoe, than he deserved to get hit with it. Maybe it could have jarred some brains loose.

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Well obviously he new the guy was trying to insult him and show his displeasure in someway. He's just not insulted by such childish insults. Dubya got a real kick out of this too. In Saddam's day this reporter would have been fed to the plastic shredder, after being forced to watch his wife and daughters get gang-raped.
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absurd thought -
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and the Devil combined
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