How offensive. It’s startling to see. It was a way worse reality.
And we’re seeing it over and over and over again on cable television
news stations, sometimes in slow-motion and somtimes real-time speed
with those shoes flying at the fact of U.S. President George W. Bush.
It offends modern, civilized sensibilities and the sense of honor.
However, it says plenty about the people who would do it and then defend it.
The brother of the journalist now famous for hurling his
shoes at President Bush said his sibling’s actions were “spontaneous”
and represented millions of Iraqis who want to “humiliate the tyrant.”
Muntadhar al-Zaidi’s feelings were influenced by watching the agony
suffered by everyday Iraqis. Most of the reporter’s stories focused on
Iraqi widows, orphans, and children, said the brother.
Was this reporter a reporter before the liberation from the regime
of Saddam Hussein by U.S. forces? Did he have the freedom to report on
the agony suffered by everyday Iraqis? He only had the freedom to move
about and gather the tales of suffereing countrymen because of that liberation.
Sometimes the 29-year-old journalist would cry. Moved by
the tales he reported of poor families, he sometimes asked his
colleagues to give money to them. On most nights, he returned to his
home in central Baghdad after reporting from Sadr City, one of the
country’s most violent slums and the epicenter of several of the war’s
Muntadhar al-Zaidi’s reporting for Egypt-based independent
television Al-Baghdadia was “against the occupation,” his brother said.
The journalist would occasionally sign off his stories “from occupied
What was it considered to be when occupied and controlled by Saddam Hussein? Remember those days?
Yet Dhirgham al-Zaidi said he was “shocked” when he saw
his brother hurling his shoes at President Bush at a Sunday news
conference after a surprise visit by Bush to Baghdad.
Dhirgham al-Zaidi said he is “proud” of his brother
whose act, while rash, was a statement of behalf of “millions” of other
Iraqis. Dhirgham said the shoe throwing was “Iraq’s reaction” to the
war and years of U.S. sanctions against Iraq before the conflict began.
The reporter was not motivated for personal reasons, or because he has
“anything against the American people,” he said.
I’m with Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera (a rare occasion) who boldly
stated that he took it as an offense and an insult to the American
president. We have seen the replay of that assault way too many times
now, and it loses nothing in its famliarity. It is an insult to the
office of the presidency of the United States, a most dishonorable
assault on the American leader.
Why was the Secret Service so slow to respond?
What a disgrace this episode was. The West would never countenance so
repulsive an attack against a public official, much less a president.
The episode underscored the limits of the large security
apparatus that surrounds U.S. presidents, a detail that must balance
safety concerns against the need to be accessible, according to
“They are already so protected as it is that it’s hard to imagine
how they could guard against something like this,” said John E. Pike,
director of GlobalSecurity.org, a think tank on defense and security
issues. “It just comes with the territory.”
Baloney. I’ve seen that tape replayed at least a hundred times over,
and the security guard didn’t even get up until the second shoe was
thrown. Is the president out there all alone? It sure seems that way.
The New York Times and others have capitalized on the incident to
further degrade the president they have reviled for so long. But in the
short span of a month, will they be able to totally re-cast that
official and his office as honorable, with integrity? And if this
happened to Obama, what would be the response?