Monday, December 15, 2008

Impartial Journalist disarms himself of his footwear

Size 10 Insult? Pfft! I don't suppose he was given his shoes back?

If Muntadhar al-Zeidi lobbed his bra and panties at the President, I'd be concerned. As it stands, I don't care how serious an insult Middle-Easterners think attacking a person with shoes are. It'd only be harmful if the man's got athlete foot fungi clinging to them, as a biological weapon of minor disruption.

Did anyone bother to check the shoes for biological agents? Parasitic fungus is communicable.

Inevitable that he'd be hailed a local hero and make a name for himself amongst the moonbats in the Middle East (and the ones, here back in the U.S.).

Shouldn't he be directing his anger at the militants who tortured him, and who we've been fighting against?

Certainly gives added new meaning to the phrase, "lame-duck president".

President Bush looked into his eyes and was able to get a sense of Muntadhar's sole...


Most of the Iraqi blogs I visit are rather anti-Bush and express the expected praise for Muntadhar. But get a load of this series of reactions printed in the NYTimes, and by way of A Soldier's Perspective:

In the city of Kut– In the provincial capital of Wasit Province, residents took issue with the Iraqi journalist’s methods and felt that he had insulted Iraqis.

Haider Ali al-Seray, 25, said: “What he has done is improper within our Islamic Iraqi society. Whatever his motive is, Bush was a guest in the state of Iraq. We demand that the prime minister issue restrictions for the reporters in order that this will never happen again.”

Ali Hassan Zweyid, a 30-year-old day laborer, said: “They say that Iraq is a democratic state. Morally speaking, he would have better asking Bush some provocative questions to provoke him and despise him.”

Qasim Abdul Ridha, a 37-year-old teacher, said: “What he has done is improper within the profession of journalism. He conducted an aggression against the flag of Iraq. The democracy is not shoes. We demand the government prosecute him.”

In the city of Karbala – In the holy city that is a main destination for Shiite pilgrims, residents were split on the shoe-hurtling.

Abu Qasim, 47, said: “What this journalist did is an act of street kids, because he doesn’t know that without America, Saddam wouldn’t have fallen — not for tens of years.”

Abu Sura, 43, called it “rash action that doesn’t fit with his profession, which is supposed to be moderate and neutral as it brings the facts to the people.”

Abu Ali, 48, said: “I congratulate this brave man who expressed the opinion of most of the Iraqis.”

In the city of Basra – Iraqis in the oil-rich southern port city of Basra, residents agreed with the Iraqi journalist’s low opinion of President Bush, but not with his actions.

Sayyd Basim al-Musawi, a member in Basra provincial council and the chief of the security committee said: “Professionally, it wasn’t suitable for him as a journalist because there are many democratic expressions that he could have used, like interrupting Bush’s speech during the conference or making noise, but the shoes express the low moral level.”

Dhyaa Mahdi Salih, a 56-year-old lawyer, said: “What this brave journalist did is nothing but rejecting the tyrants in our country. And this journalist deserves to have a statue as he was throwing his shoe at the American president.”

Saeed Naji al-Ibadi, a 49-year-old pharmacist, said: “There’s a reaction against this journalist and his improper behavior as he represents the journalists and educated people in our society. Because he should have rejected the American president with his pen or by embarrassing him with his smart questions, not with his shoes. I totally reject this behavior because it will damage the rights of individuals.”

Nasir Mahmood al-Bahadli, 52, an academic said: “We are Arabs and we have a good reputation in hospitality with enemies before friends. The American president also was accompanying the man who represents the Iraqi government and this made it worse because this journalist also abused the prime minister with his behavior.”

In the city of Baquba – In the largely Sunni Arab capital of Diyala Province, many residents were critical of the journalist.

Saeed Shakir al-Sayyd, a 40-year-old teacher, said: “Freedom and democracy should be explained in a correct way. I think what Muntader al-Zaidi did is incorrect and not professional… He’s a journalist and deals with the language of words, and not throwing the shoes and cursing. This man was wrong.”

Nawal Jaafer, 30, said: “Yes, we all hate America because it destroyed Iraq and distributed sectarianism among its people. I think what al-Zaidi did is a real expression on what’s hidden in the hearts of the Iraqis.”

Karim Muan al-Qaisi, a 50-year-old merchant, said: “Despite my hatred of Bush, he’s a president for a big country and a guest for the Iraqi government. And we as Easterners think insulting the guest is an insult for the host. Despite our hatred of the guest, there should be respect and diplomacy.”

Bilal Midhat Hussein, a 44-year-old photographer, said: “It’s not in the nature of the Iraqis to insult anyone — even their enemies. I was a soldier during the Iraqi-Iranian war and we arrested many Iranian soldiers who killed our colleagues, but we never insulted them. And that’s just a simple example of the big mistake of yesterday because this journalist insulted all the rest of the journalists. Because none of the Arab journalists would have dared to do so because they already know the consequences.”

In the city of Ramadi (of all places) – In the capital of Anbar’s largely Sunni western province of Ramadi, some residents condemned the attack.

Ahmad Jeyyad, 36, a professor in the college of agriculture in Anbar University, said: “What we have seen in TV is more than an action by a journalist. It was an action by an Iraqi citizen who lost his mind because of the woes of occupations. My family clapped when they saw the shoe. They praise Muntader for his action, but we do not know the reasons behind it. He may have had one of his family arrested by American forces or he may have political affiliations or other reasons.”

Ahmad Abu Risha, the head of Sahwa Council in Iraq, said: “We condemn what happened because the American president is the guest of all Iraqis. The Iraqi government has to choose good journalists to attend such conferences.”

He added, “I had attended the White House and there were reporters known as White House’s reporters. So why are there not well known professional reporters be chosen for such tasks?

“On the other hand, Muntader insulted Iraqi journalists. We are calling for his channel to apologize.” He added that “in spite of everything, we are demanding to release Muntader.”

Ahmad Jbaeir, a 25-year-old law school student, said: “I was very glad when I saw the shoe on TV. I do not care even if he was a journalist or an ordinary citizen, but he expressed the feelings of Iraqis who hate Bush because he killed us. So we are demanding his release.”

Saddam Loqman, a 21-year-old shopkeeper, said: “My father was arrested by Americans and I wish I [could have thrown the shoe] instead, but if I was a journalist, then I have to respect the occupation when I get to the conference hall.” Then he laughed and said, “I think that the Iraqi government will permit journalists to attend conferences only after taking their shoes off.”

Haitham al-Kood, 30, said: “I think Muntader was paid for his action. He has to be pushed by some side. We are demanding the government to prevent such actions. And if only Maliki was in the conference, then Muntader would be dead, but fortunately Bush was in the conference too and he said ‘it is the price of freedom.’”

It's also good to see that Bush still has his combat pilot's quick reaction. Did you see that duck and weave?!

Also found at A Soldier's Perspective:

From the Kurdish press, via Gateway Pundit:
On December 14, 2008 President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki had a press conference in Baghdad. An Iraqi journalist threw his shoes one at a time at the American president. Interestingly Mr. Bush moved very quickly and dodged the shoes so none of them hit him. Apparently he is physically very fit and might have an extensive experience in dodge ball. Most likely dodge shoes becomes the favorite game of children who watch Al-Jazirah. I am wondering if the angry man had thrown the shoes at his own current leaders who welcomed Mr. Bush, would Prime Minister Maliki or President Talibani have been fit enough to protect themselves from being hit; probably not.

Nobody claims that President Bush is flawless or that he should not be criticized. In fact almost every American journalist including the one from his own party rightfully criticize him on a regular basis for his mistakes. However, compare to Saddam whom he removed from power, President Bush is actually a saint. President Bush did not feel insulted and even made a joke about the size of the thrown shoes, which might indicate his mental fitness. I am wondering if the angry man had thrown his shoes at Saddam, would he or any of his family members had been allowed to live any longer; probably not.

Although I am not an Iraqi but a Kurd, I felt embarrassed for the behavior of the angry reporter. For decades Kurds and Iraqis have fought for freedom of speech and press. If a journalist can not respect his own profession and violates the rules of free press, how could the world trust the region to become free? As Middle Eastern we are already labeled as barefoot people for taking off our shoes at our homes, mosques, beaches, and deserts. We do not need our reporters to be labeled as barefoot journalists and denied access to conferences where keeping shoes on is part of an appropriate attire and manner! In fact we need to reject barefoot journalism.

Considering his behavior, probably the angry reporter does not qualify to be a journalist at this stage of his life.

Great column by Ralph Peters, as well.

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Blogger Chuck said...

Just another grateful Iraqi. Piss on him

Monday, December 15, 2008 2:04:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Not all Iraqis feel like he's a hero, as reported in the NYTimes. And Ralph Peters makes a point of how few are actually demonstrating out in the streets in support of the Iraqi loafer.

December 16, 2008 --

ON Sunday, President Bush ducked two shoes hurled toward him in Baghdad. But he never ducked his responsibilities in Iraq.

A great deal of justified criticism can be leveled at the Bush administration, but to his great - and enduring - credit, our president didn't quit as mistakes made by his subordinates mounted and the prognosis in Iraq turned dire.

And the "shoe incident" shows how the results vindicated his stubbornness.

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.

Other than Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, what Arab head of government holds free-wheeling press conferences? "President" Mubarak of Egypt? Assad of Syria? The Saudi king? Qaddafi? If an Arab reporter had "shoed" any other leading Arab ruler during one of their staged events, he would've been fortunate to escape with his life.

The only countries in the Middle East where a journalist could survive after such behavior are Iraq, maybe Lebanon - and Israel. Even Jordan doesn't allow such freedom.

The media have been having a ball with the video of the Great Baghdad Shoe Toss. But they've missed the point completely. Our sacrifices let that pathetic reporter muster the courage to hurl his shoes at our president: He knew he could get away with it.

Brothers and sisters, the world has changed since 2003.

Yes, Iraq could still fail. The Arab genius for failure is the region's salient talent. But one Arab state has been given a chance to build something better than a nationwide prison - not perfect, but better.

And Iraq's making tangible progress.

Terrorists will still be able to explode the occasional bomb 10 years from now, but daily life for most Iraqis has returned to commonplace concerns. The economy's booming and democracy, messy but vibrant, appears to have put down roots.

Al Qaeda lost hugely, Muqtada al-Sadr's star is waning, the Baathists are finished and Iraqis are taking ever more responsibility for their own security. The recent status-of-forces agreement between Washington and Baghdad - which the media sought to portray as a US defeat - shows a country on the mend and gaining confidence.

Our troops are coming home by the tens of thousands. A rump contingent will remain in Iraq for years to come - but facing isolated terrorist incidences, not a complex of insurgencies. And, contrary to another myth, most Iraqis aren't anxious for us to leave - they just want to own their streets.

For all of our errors in Iraq, we've done a selfless, honorable thing.

Bush deserved better than the indignity of having shoes flipped at him - a serious insult in the Arab world. But the incident's real message was: Mission accomplished!

In barely a month, it will be up to President Obama to safeguard a flawed but tenacious president's hard-won legacy. Let us hope he'll have the sense to do so.

Oh, and those shoes? The assailant was a journalist, so I'll bet they were loafers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 2:41:00 PM  
Blogger Z said...

Seems that some Iraqis are more ticked off at a guy attacking our president than the NY Times is, huh?

Imagine if they'd thrown a show at Saddam.

I wasn't sure whether I admired or found goofy Bush's reaction; I've gotta say! Man, that man never stopped smiling! I think I'll just accept that he's VERY good natured and call it a day.

This'll be George W. Bush's legacy as much as his Dad's throwing up in Japan was. Sad. Very sad this happened and so many Americans in the media think it was just hilarious.

Thank GOD there are Iraqis who think it was wrong; Good people. This morning on Ed Schultz (I listen just to get my heart pumping in the AM!!!) he was saying "Why WOULDN"T a guy attack a man who invaded his country? How could Bush not understand that?"
Liberal....maybe it really IS a mental disease!??
Great piece, Sparky...thanks..very comprehensive and encouraging.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 2:56:00 PM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Who says Bush doesn't have some nice moves left in him??


Tuesday, December 16, 2008 3:08:00 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

In the future Bush's reaction to this will be considered a mark of class.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 4:36:00 PM  
Blogger Tapline said...

Word,I fault our Secret Service for not reacting faster. Of course one does not expect something like that to happen at a press conference with the PM. I would have hoped they had looked at anyone who was present at that conference, apparently not...As far as our news media reaction. Its time they all took a walk....MY God people he is the President of all the people of the United States not a Republican or a Democrat a representative of th people Which, the last time I checked you are part of this country.....Act like it and speak for it....The Office of the president should be accorded that respect. It's not a joke!!!.....go figure.....I can't.....Good post.....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 7:02:00 PM  
Blogger christian soldier said...

Sorry-I wrote the statement below into the other comment section:

RE: the vid of the radio commentator -the Iraqi man - and the peace freak(andrea)...
Hooray for the Iraqi man and...
I'll shake his (the radio commentator's) hand NOT andrea's --he represents the Best of the Best--andrea represents the indoctrinated Worst of the Worst!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 12:28:00 AM

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 12:35:00 AM  
Blogger Donald Douglas said...

Actually, this is a turning point. The American left universally backed the Iraqi journalist, and not just the Code Pinkos. The vehemence is not letting up with "The One's" election, and in fact they've been emboldened by the victory in November and want blood, not shoe rubber.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 6:26:00 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I loved Bush's quick reaction. That was the best part. I thought the Secret Service was way too slow off the mark, though. I suppose they thought the place was secure but when the first shoe flew they should have rushed the podium, not after the second one when Bush waved him off.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 10:00:00 PM  

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