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Iraqi Shoe-thrower

You know the story. An Iraqi journalist hurled his brogans at Pres. Bush a few days ago.

I've seen all the late night jokes. Some of 'em even made me laugh.

But even though I haven't been a fan of the outgoing president's work, this whole incident bugged me.

I mean no disrespect to the office of the presidency, when I make this analogy: But I view elected officials like my siblings in the sense that I can snap at my sibling and say things and do things to get under my sibling's skin that you can't do. And if you tried to do or say those things to my sibling, I'd strongly rebuke you. May even knock you the hell out, and my displeasure with you wouldn't necessarily be about the reasons you were angry with my sibling. We may agree on the reasons. But my sibling. Leave the scolding to me.

When I lived in Sicily as a kid, just outside Palermo, young Sicilians with whom I became friends, would make anti-American jokes. They'd poke fun of the sailors and airmen stationed on nearby U.S. Naval and Air Force bases. They'd dog the servicemen's uniforms and pick on their funny haircuts. The thing is I'd poked fun at the servicemen too. I'd made cracks about the haircuts, and so on. But my young Sicilian friends? They were knocking these guys and making more generalized anti-American jokes even as they bragged about the summer homes their parents were able to buy in Taormina, thanks to lucrative contracts they'd signed for work on those military bases.

My own sister and I did it. She's five years older than me. And when I was a kid and she was a slightly older kid she and my older cousin who lived with us at the time would torture me mercilessly. You think of the cruel nickname; they used it on me. I don't think it's a stretch to say that my sister and cousin bullied me. They won't mind me saying so. It's true. But it probably helped toughen me up.

But I digress. My point is when some other kid, some kid who wasn't family, tried to jump in the fray and bully me, my sister and cousin would put that kid in check and tell him things to the effect of "We know James is a snot nose and has cooties, but he's not your brother. We'll deal with him."

Goofy? Yes. But I'm sure you get my point. If that journalist dude wanted to yell at President Bush or stage a protest outside the hall where the president spoke, fine. But even if we weren't all informed that in Arab cultures tossing shoes is a put-down, I'd still have seen that journalist's shoe-toss as out of line.

Unpopular or not, I give Pres. Bush a few points on this one. I think I might've tried to force that guy to eat those shoes.

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Wavemancali

He invaded the country killing hundreds of thousands of its citizens for reasons that to this day do not stand up to even the lightest scrutiny.

Ummm no. You are completely out to lunch on this one James.

James B.

Wavemancali, I'm out to lunch 'cause a dude tossing shoes annoyed me? The debate over the Iraq War doesn't need to be rehashed. I've written on this blog a zillion times that the war was a sham and the reasons we were given for going into that war were bogus, and that we should've focused our energy on finding bin Laden, and so on and so forth.

But sorry, this shoe gesture bugged the crap out of me.

What can I tell you? I can't please all the people all the time.

I don't think the executive offices of Pakistan or Afghanistan have done enough to help capture bin Laden or put the Taliban in check. In fact, I think they have dragged their feet. And it pisses me off. But if I, as a working journalist and a U.S. citizen, was at a news conference where one or both of those presidents was speaking, I wouldn't throw my shoes at 'em.

That's a Middle Eastern gesture, you say? Fine, then I wouldn't give 'em the middle finger. I wouldn't shout out during the conference that they're SOBs.

Even if you agree with the shoe-thrower on his disdain for Bush, he was a working journalist and was out of order for that reason alone.

Jeff

Burning the likeness of a despised world leader is one thing...throwing shoes at the real thing is just wrong, no matter who's residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Mr. Burnett is right.

Wavemancali

I think you are drawing an incorrect parallel.

Ok, your cousins bullied you, but when others tried to bully you they stepped up to defend you, because "you're family".

Here's what I think is a more accurate comparison of the situation.

Say your cousin is a serial killer who killed 87 people. He's family and all so you are walking with him from the courthouse to the truck taking him to the penitentiary. Are you going to defend your cousin to the family member of the victim your cousin killed that spits on your cousin as he passes? Stand up and say, "Here now, there's no call for that."

J

It's really cute how all the liberal imbeciles that troll around and comment on everything seem to overlook the freedom and democracy that there now is in Iraq.

Yea hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died. Most have been killed by fellow Iraqis. But they now have something that many, many more have died for throughout the ages - LIBERTY.

Bush is a liberator. He may have presided over a flawed and unpopular administration and policies, but he is nevertheless a liberator. Iraqis, and the the world in general, should open their eyes and begin to appreciate the democracy and freedom everyone now takes for granted. It would not exist in Iraq, nor in Europe or Japan or possibly anywhere else, without the US and our mission to help spread to others the inalienable rights bestowed upon us by our Creator.

LIBERTY OR DEATH!

WNG

I don't know, JB. Maybe if this had occured in a country we hadn't invaded I would feel differently, but honestly - I can't work up the bothered factor that you have going.

I can understand your analogy, but there are some things that are unforgiveable, even for family. You don't want to rehash the war here - ok, it's your blog and again, I see your point, BUT it is not only the war that I can't forgive him for.

If this had happened in England or Sweden or some place else I would feel differently. But it didn't and I don't.

I personally, would like to slap his face somewhere public. I totally lack the guts to doit, but I would want to. I would never harm him in any real way, but I would enjoy that type of humiliation, petty though it might be, because the anger he arouses in me leads me to small minded pettiness. I'm trying to let that go. But I understand the motives of the shoe thrower.

What makes me really upset is his answer to it. He had no idea why the shoe thrower was angry. He still doesn't get it and he isn't curious. He laughed it off. THAT makes me want to throw a shoe at him. The man has defiled The Office of The Presidency. He gets no credit and no protection from me.

mark

Im no fan of the war and Im no fan of GWB but the shoe throwing was uncalled for. I wonder what would have happened to that guy if he had thrown a shoe at Saddam? I believe Saddam would have had him beheaded at dawn the next day.

nbj

to hell with the next day, saddam would have had him shot on the spot.

Ron

Has anyone of you ever considered how many lives were saved after we went to Iraq and saddam was taken out! Consider how many people he gassed to death! GWB will be rated 20 or more years from now as a good president. Look at the history of Harry Truman. Truman had a low rating until later when folks realized he too did a good job!

Slash

I agree, James. No matter how much I disagree with whatever GWB does or has done, he is still MY president. I think that one of the reasons the reporter's actions bothered me is that I kinda felt like the shoes were being thrown at America and all Americans; as if the reporter had boiled the whole complex situation down to one simple idea: Bad America, Bad Dog!

Another thing that bothered me was how this guy was allowed to get a second shoe down range!! Where was the protection detail?!!

Michelle

James you and I are in complete agreement. I am dismayed and disgusted with Bush and his handling of many situations but he is the POTUS. No one should ever throw anything or disrespect the President. I do not agree with Castro but would not throw anything at him. I am disgusted by Hugo Chavez but would never be so disrespectful to a leader of another nation.

Gerald

I am neither dismayed or disgusted with Bush. I may not agree with some of his decisions, but I feel he did what was in the best interest of our country. It's easy to be Monday morning quarter-backs, and second guess the decisions the quarterback made on Sunday. You don't agree with President Bush, fine, but don't make fun of him in public and especially to the world. By doing so, you are also putting down our great country. MSM has a lot to be held accountable for in this respect(CNN, MSNBC, NYT, etc).

PS This is NOT directed at Michelle.

Sharon

Sorry, James, but President Bush is a World Figure. He, or his minions, has influence over far more than just the States, including millions of people who had absolutely no say, or even right to a say, in his selection as President.

He affects our lives, we'll comment. & maybe even go buy the shoes too!

You don't want people to comment on your President, or your great country? Then get them to stop strutting around like they own the world, have all the answers, & are World policemen.
Particularly when Government papers get released under Freedom of Information legislation & we all finally get to hear about the Dirty Tricks & Self-Interest Departments we've only hitherto suspected. (& yes, I know the UK has the DT & S-I Departments too.)

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