Sunday, December 14, 2008

Iraqi Reporter Throws His Shoes at President Bush

President Bush made a surprise visit to Iraq with just over five weeks left in the White House.

During a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, an Iraqi reporter began heckling and threw his shoes at President Bush. Fortunately, the shoes missed President Bush as he ducked with al-Maliki's assistance. While the reporter was being tackled to the ground White House Press Secretary Dana Perino was poked in the eye with a microphone stand.

Muntadar al-Zeidi, a reporter for Al-Baghdadiya TV based in Cairo, shouted, "This shoe is for goodbye," and "You dog. You killed Iraqis," before throwing his shoes which is the highest insult in Arab culture. You will recall Iraqis hitting the statue of Saddam Hussein with their shoes when Baghdad fell. Al-Baghdadiya demanded al-Zeidi's release "in accordance with the new era of freedom of speech and democracy that the United States has promised Iraq." As far as I'm concerned al-Zeidi's freedom of speech ends where President Bush's face begins.

Other Iraqi journalists present apologized to President Bush who took the incident in good stride. President Bush said, "All I can report is a size 10." (

Look for the liberal media to point this incident out as Bush's legacy in Iraq despite the immense improvement there over the past year or so. I'm sure the shoe gesture will draw moral equivalence between a mass murderer like Saddam and a liberator like Bush.

It certainly can be argued there are still too many Iraqis who are ungrateful to the U.S. and Coalition forces for ridding them of a man who ruled Iraqis with fear, mayhem and terror. But a majority of the reporters there were appalled by al-Zeidi's behavior. I'm sure most of them aren't big fans of Bush but would acknowledge they are better off without Saddam. After all, it is better to have a chance to live in freedom than no chance at all. But the views of the silent majority in Iraq doesn't make the front page of The New York Times.

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