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Shoe throwers support network
December 18, 2008 2:07 AM   Subscribe

Your chance to say: Thank you for throwing your shoe!
posted by criticalbill (93 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I appreciated the gesture myself, but the news isn't good:

"Bush shoe thrower Muntazer al-Zaidi 'too injured' for court"

Bush is tacitly allowing the guy to have the shit beaten out of him. He might not ever see daylight again. And if he does, it will be with lots of broken bones. A final little fuck you from Chimpy to the Iraqi people.
posted by bardic at 2:32 AM on December 18, 2008 [8 favorites]


You know, I thought that Dubya would have the honor -- or at least the political acumen and desire to clean up his "legacy" -- to make sure that al-Zaidi didn't end up getting tortured too.

Whatever grudging respect Bush won for being able to dodge the thrown shoes I think evaporates when your learn al-Zaidi's arms were broken and his teeth knocked out in custody.

I can't figure out if this is just more incompetence, or more unwillingness to care about anyone not in his circle of cronies (cf. his mother's public statement on national TV that she didn't want to sully her mind with images of dead American soldiers, or her statement that the Katrina refugees were better off in shelters), or just more of the shear vindictive cruelty that he showed when he made faces to mock Karla Faye Tucker, the women who begged him for executive clemency of her sentence to be executed.

Whether stupidity, lack of empathy, or cruelty, it just further diminishes this already very small man.
posted by orthogonality at 2:45 AM on December 18, 2008 [31 favorites]


I can't figure out if this is just more incompetence, or more unwillingness to care about anyone not in his circle of cronies

At this point, it's pure and simple sadism. Bush knows he's going down as one of the worst, if not the worst, presidents in history. You can almost picture him cracking open the Johnnie Walker and muttering "Exterminate the brute."

Then again, I doubt he's at a level of functional literacy to read Heart of Darkness.
posted by bardic at 2:52 AM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Iraq was a police state until five years ago. The head of state had two sons who used to torture and kill courtship rivals by feeding them to lions. The journalist who threw the shoes badly embarrassed the government and its security apparatus. He made them seem weak and ineffective. It is not surprising that the Iraq police would beat the guy, and I do not think that anything President Bush said or did one way or the other would have encouraged or discouraged that. For all I've seen, the President did his best to low-key the incident, but maybe you have better information than I do.
posted by Slap Factory at 3:31 AM on December 18, 2008 [8 favorites]


Shoes, for crying out loud; not just one! You're not giving al-Zaidi due credit!
posted by strangeguitars at 3:35 AM on December 18, 2008


^ disingenious. What this actually shows is that one set of sadistic bastards who completely ignored human rights have been replaced by another group of sadistic bastards who completely ignore human rights; and that the second group have the approval of Bushco.
posted by adamvasco at 3:54 AM on December 18, 2008 [13 favorites]


Bit of a silly site, especially We don't condone shoe throwing...

Pfft. If you're going to set something like this up, you should have the courage of your convictions and be proud of the fact that you're condoning like hell.
posted by Phanx at 3:57 AM on December 18, 2008


I for one condone the fuck out of throwing shoes at Bush or anyone involved in this damn fool war, and I will donate $100 to Mr. Zaidi's legal fund if and when he actually gets his day in court.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:15 AM on December 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


What we really need is a site set up to receive old shoes and ship them in bulk to wherever Monkey Boy is appearing in public next.
posted by mandal at 4:30 AM on December 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


I like the mail-your-shoes idea a bit better.
posted by Citizen Premier at 4:32 AM on December 18, 2008


Shoes, for crying out loud; not just one! You're not giving al-Zaidi due credit!

I was pretty amazed by A. the secret service not burying Bush under a pile of protective bodies before the second shoe, and B. the secret service not swamping the thrower before the second shoe.

That said a dumb website of people holding up shoes isn't going to get the guy out of jail & to a doctor. Is there a legal fund?
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:45 AM on December 18, 2008


We're all assuming Dubya didn't like having shoes thrown at him. Maybe he really got off on it, and is re-enacting the scene at home right now: "Christ, Laura, you throw like a girl! Try the penny loafers, and this time be sure and hit me square in the nuts, will ya?"
posted by ShameSpiral at 5:02 AM on December 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


Not only a dumb website, but a really shitty interface which dribbles out a few overly small images at a time. All that whitespace, I guess that's where the ads are supposed to go.

Oh, and Slap Factory speaks the truth, I hope the MetaPolice won't break his arms and knock out his teeth.
posted by chlorus at 5:07 AM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


For all I've seen, the President did his best to low-key the incident, but maybe you have better information than I do.

Yes, I do believe the President did his absolute very best.
posted by srboisvert at 5:12 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


December 18th

Another dreary rain-soaked day on the east coast. Woke up, went to work, came home, the bus lurching and belching depressing smog. But something more than passing wonderful happened today, on this gray still silence of a winter.

I came upon a website where, imagine, you could post a picture of yourself, doing something precious, and, by posting this glorious photo, you could stamp out everything that needs to get stomped! All can be solved by tilting my head to the side and holding an object of symbolism or writing something on my face or hand with a ballpoint pen: War, poverty, abortion, diseases, and the worst horror of all: Apathy! Because the most terrible, unconscionable thing would be to do nothing. We have the power, let's use it--today, the internet, tomorrow, who knows...we might be on TV!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:14 AM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Every time I have to remove my shoes at an airport it would be nice if there were a picture of Bush nearby to throw them at.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:15 AM on December 18, 2008 [36 favorites]


We were talking about this in one of my classes earlier this week and out of ten students, only one other thought there was something fucked up, something wrong about the guy getting tortured.
Even the professor, a proud Democrat, said Al-Zaidi deserved to be tortured because 'he was a journalist, and you don't throw shoes at the leader of the free world'.

That said, I was really impressed by Al-Zaidi's rapid-fire shoe-throwing skills- that guy's a good shot. It's a shame Bush ducked.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:26 AM on December 18, 2008


How can the Bush administration possibly give the Iraq authorities any power, yet simultaneously dictate how they deal with someone who has, as mentioned, clearly made them look like idiots in an internationally visible incident. Regardless of what we think, that is how they feel they have been left looking.

The most the US officials should do, unless they want to be directly hypocritical, is ask nicely through Diplomatic channels for leniency for the guy, but it's not really up to them what happens. An Iraq citizen created an incident with a visiting Head of State while in Iraq. It really has nothing to do with the US how it is dealt with.

Yes, there is a load of history, but you can't say "we want you to govern yourselves, but only when we agree with what you are doing all the time". They can't police the Iraq police forever.

What this actually shows is that one set of sadistic bastards who completely ignored human rights have been replaced by another group of sadistic bastards who completely ignore human rights

You cannot possibly, surely, be comparing mass genocide and feeding prisoners to lions with beating a suspect in custody? You do know that the second part happens in your own country fairly often, don't you?
posted by Brockles at 5:28 AM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Maybe I'm overly cynical, but there's a guy sitting in prison somewhere with broken bones, and some asshole is trying to co-opt his misery to accumulate google juice. That's pretty low.

Even the professor, a proud Democrat, said Al-Zaidi deserved to be tortured because 'he was a journalist, and you don't throw shoes at the leader of the free world'.

The US has a "respect for authority" thing that comes over as a bit weird from a Brit point of view, where we have contempt for everyone in equal measure. A similar attitude was displayed after Carol Coleman interviewed Bush. Lots of responses suggesting she should have been more deferential to him... but I would have thought that as you climb the ranks, the questions should get harder, not easier.
posted by Leon at 5:41 AM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Showing support by displaying the soles of your shoes?
posted by fullerine at 5:53 AM on December 18, 2008


The U.S. "respect for authority" isn't really what it says on the box. It's instead a combination of fear (of getting your ass kicked) and social dignity (everyone else should be afraid too). That's why a professor would suggest torture as appropriate for shining-one-on GWB.

I hink that's why when we encounter someone actually worthy of genuine respect, it is so shocking and startling. It's like feeling an all-new emotion, untainted by fear or stigma.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:56 AM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I can't help but think things like this are just an excuse for the People of the Internet to take more pictures of themselves.
posted by picea at 5:58 AM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's instead a combination of fear (of getting your ass kicked) and social dignity (everyone else should be afraid too). That's why a professor would suggest torture as appropriate for shining-one-on GWB.

I agree. The fact that I have to think twice before saying I admire Al-Zaidi's aim doesn't make me feel very free, either.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:04 AM on December 18, 2008


social dignity (everyone else should be afraid too)

How can one possibly be an explanation of the other? Genuinely curious, not snarking - everything I know about the US I learnt from 80s TV shows.
posted by Leon at 6:11 AM on December 18, 2008


What would happen if we all started mailing shoes to the white house? Thousands upon thousands of shoes? Can someone setup a website to for that?
posted by rough at 6:20 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


While I do think the al-Zaidi is probably getting tortured, has there been any independent confirmation of this beyond his brother's statements to the media?
posted by thewittyname at 7:18 AM on December 18, 2008


Iraq was a police state until five years ago. The head of state had two sons who used to torture and kill courtship rivals by feeding them to lions.

Yes; thank god we made killing Iraqis - rivals, friends, civilians, men, women, and children - so much more efficient by simply just dropping motherfucking bombs everywhere.

Dead is dead. And we have done the Iraqi people no favors by illegally overthrowing their government and occupying their country. Oh, and killing them indiscriminately, raping women, and playing funny "jokes" on kids that will have a backlash for, oh, the next hundred years.

If getting rid of Hussein was such a priority, we could have done so without murdering literally countless Iraqis.

And you're whining about the man who authorized this illegal war getting a couple fucking shoes thrown at him? Jesus fucking . . . look: I still believe in democracy, even though President Bush was not elected but rather appointed illegally by the Supreme Court in a decision so fucking blatantly boneheaded that even they said "heh, hey guys, this case doesn't set a precedent please don't use it as one."

But fuck it, this asshole is our President for another month, so let's just hold on and ride this shit out. And while I think that he should spent the rest of his term in safety, I also believe that "less-than-violent" protest such as shoe-throwing should be practiced by every Iraqi and every American with the misfortune to cross paths with this failure of a man, this monster of a President.

Muntazer al-Zaidi is a hero. And I will stand by him in every way that I can.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:33 AM on December 18, 2008 [10 favorites]


Is this close enough rough? Warning: BoingBoing Link

I like this idea especially since I was born in Dallas
posted by rosswald at 7:40 AM on December 18, 2008


Also it was a vigilante act, and its not surprising that he will end up in jail. I agree with what Al-Zaidi did, and lord knows Bush deserves it, but when you take the law in your own hands you shouldn't be suprised when the law comes back at you.
posted by rosswald at 7:46 AM on December 18, 2008


However, Iraqi officials and another brother have denied that the journalist suffered severe injuries after he was wrestled to the floor after throwing the shoes during a press conference by Mr Bush in Baghdad on Sunday.

Which brother do we believe?
posted by a3matrix at 7:47 AM on December 18, 2008


Apparently said individual is now appealing for mercy.

"It is too late to now to regret the big and ugly act that I perpetrated," al-Zeidi wrote in a letter delivered to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, according to the prime minister's spokesman.

Article HERE
posted by a3matrix at 8:10 AM on December 18, 2008


.

Diseased fucking species
posted by everichon at 8:16 AM on December 18, 2008


Here in Oregon, people are protesting by hanging shoes from the phone wires.
posted by msalt at 8:22 AM on December 18, 2008


Was all prepared to say Right On ..er..Right Off Brother!Thought it was a good idea, went to the site and was disappointed. Love the impassioned comments in this thread though. I wanted a site that would honor the courage and conviction of Muntazer al-Zaidi.

An afterthought. It will take some time for many Americans to wake up from the apathy and dread of the oppression of the last 8 years.
posted by nickyskye at 8:39 AM on December 18, 2008


So the WMD claim was obviously bullshit. But Republicans told us oh, wait a minute, the occupation was really about making a beacon of democracy in the heathen, brown-skinned middle east and the little savages would be more like us enlightened white folk.

Lo and behold, 4,000 American dead, countless (literally) Iraqi dead, billions squandered, and we've got a regime that's just as horrible as the last one was. Car batteries hooked up to genitals. Teeth knocked out. Finger bones crushed with a laugh and a smile.

Welcome to the 21st century.
posted by bardic at 8:41 AM on December 18, 2008


Also it was a vigilante act, and its not surprising that he will end up in jail. I agree with what Al-Zaidi did, and lord knows Bush deserves it, but when you take the law in your own hands you shouldn't be suprised when the law comes back at you.
This is a ridiculous statement. He threw shoes at someone for god's sake. That is not something a person should be tortured for.
And if anyone can be accused of taking the law into their own hands, it would have to be Bush and his adminstration. Do you see any chance of the law coming back at them?
posted by peacheater at 8:43 AM on December 18, 2008


I thought this whole shoe event was funny too until I saw the video.

In my mind, I could just as clearly see another angry anti-american individual popping up in a crowd and putting a bullet in our first black president. He didn't get us into a war, but there are plenty of other reasons people could find to take him out.

Condoning any act of violence against a president seems foolish, no matter how much you hate Bush or detest with his actions.
posted by roaring beast at 8:44 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Who throws a shoe? Honestly?!
posted by matt755811 at 8:49 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Bush shoe thrower Muntazer al-Zaidi 'too injured' for court"

Yeah. Hey, remember when right after this happened, the handful of people who still actually support the fucking chimp were all like "Because of Bush, he has the freedom to throw shoes at Bush! If he'd have done it under Saddam, he'd be tortured! Perhaps with plastic shredders and death rays!" I think there was even one here, in the earlier thread. Remember that? That was funny.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:49 AM on December 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


Welcome to the 21st century.

Funy how it looks so much like the 20th.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:53 AM on December 18, 2008


In my mind, I could just as clearly see another angry anti-american individual popping up in a crowd and putting a bullet in our first black president.

Tell you what: if President Obama lies to the public and to the legislature to start an illegal war, and hundreds of thousands of people die as a result, I'm okay with someone throwing shoes at him, too.

This was not a bullet. It was a symbol. Although President Bush is unusually susceptible to injury from mundane items (pretzels, bicycles, Segways), getting hit by a shoe isn't going to fucking actually kill him.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:53 AM on December 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


"It is too late to now to regret the big and ugly act that I perpetrated."

I hope the translation is getting the meaning across properly. If so, that's a great sentence to write from a jail cell. It doesn't say he regrets the act. Was it an ugly act? Sure it was. George W. Bush deserves ugly acts. And it was a big symbolic act.

Rock on.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:56 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


In my mind, I could just as clearly see another angry anti-american individual popping up in a crowd and putting a bullet in our first black president.

Thrown footwear doesn't kill people.

Shoe away.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:56 AM on December 18, 2008


>> social dignity (everyone else should be afraid too)
Leon> How can one possibly be an explanation of the other?


Dignity/indignation is a powerful social control activated when one sees another doing something one cannot or will not do due to societal norms or restrictions. It's why Mr. Smith might yell at Mr. Brown for taking up two parking spaces with his SUV even though Mr. Smith is on foot that day.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:01 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is there any actual evidence of this alleged torture, or are we left to assume it is happening?
Everything I read says he is injured in one sentence as claimed by one brother, and that he is not in another claimed by another brother.
Do we have any substantiated facts?
posted by a3matrix at 9:18 AM on December 18, 2008


"Also it was a vigilante act, and its not surprising that he will end up in jail. I agree with what Al-Zaidi did, and lord knows Bush deserves it, but when you take the law in your own hands you shouldn't be suprised when the law comes back at you."
posted by rosswald at 10:46 AM on December 18 [+] [!]

This is a ridiculous statement. [sic] That is not something a person should be tortured for. [sic] Bush and his adminstration. Do you see any chance of the law coming back at them?
posted by peacheater at 11:43 AM on December 18 [+] [!]

And this is why I love metafilter (sigh). I NEVER said he should be tortured, but in jail definitely. I do agree that people need to wake up after the past 8 years, but not in the way NS said it.

Look at this way, if a Saudi head of state came to Iraq, gave a press conference with Al-Maliki, and had a shoe thrown at him by a shite, his ass would be in jail. Even if the Shia majority rallied, and protested, and really felt the act was justified (as shaming Bush is), its still a crime. I feel like a tenet of diplomacy is ensuring that the people who visit aren't assaulted, no matter how much they deserve it.
posted by rosswald at 9:23 AM on December 18, 2008


Look at this way, if a Saudi head of state came to Iraq, gave a press conference with Al-Maliki, and had a shoe thrown at him by a shite, his ass would be in jail.

How many Iraqis have the Saudis killed in the last six years?

Also, it's Shi'ite.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:26 AM on December 18, 2008


So if instead of a shoe, it was a bullet to the brain? That would be ok?
posted by rosswald at 9:30 AM on December 18, 2008


So if instead of a shoe, it was a bullet to the brain? That would be ok?


Ummm---are these the only choices?
posted by birdhaus at 9:35 AM on December 18, 2008


So if instead of a shoe, it was a bullet to the brain? That would be ok?
posted by rosswald at 9:30 AM on December 18


No, that would not be okay, and no one in this thread has claimed as such. You should be ashamed of your sad attempt to paint the defenders of al-Zaidi as would-be assassins, and embarrassed by how ham-fisted and ineffectual it is.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:35 AM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Oh, and by the way, those aren't the only choices. 12 things to throw at Bush: A shoe? Not bad. But surely we can do better.
posted by birdhaus at 9:44 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


In Canada we throw boots.
posted by mazola at 9:50 AM on December 18, 2008


"You should be ashamed of your sad attempt to paint the defenders of al-Zaidi as would-be assassins"

Huh? My point was that bush's action are reproachable, but what if instead of a shoe, it was a boot, instead of a boot a brick, isntead of a brick, a knife, instead of a knife a gun. At what point would Al-Zaidi's action's not be defensable?
posted by rosswald at 9:52 AM on December 18, 2008


Iraqi Shoe Hurler Wants To Be PM

Step 1, make a name for myself. CHECK!
posted by a3matrix at 9:55 AM on December 18, 2008


So if instead of a shoe, it was a bullet to the brain? That would be ok?
That's such a stupid rhetorical question it doesn't even merit a response.
You know, I thought that Dubya would have the honor -- or at least the political acumen and desire to clean up his "legacy" -- to make sure that al-Zaidi didn't end up getting tortured too.
What gave you that idea. I wouldn't even be surprised if bush didn't even know what was going on with that guy, and frankly he probably likes the idea that the guy is getting the crap beat out of him.

Seriously, this has gone from a "funny iconic image" to "serious fuckup" Apparently the speaker of the house has resigned over this. Bush just has to fuck up Iraq just a little bit more on the way out. What a fucking idiot.
The US has a "respect for authority" thing that comes over as a bit weird from a Brit point of view, where we have contempt for everyone in equal measure. A similar attitude was displayed after Carol Coleman interviewed Bush. Lots of responses suggesting she should have been more deferential to him... but I would have thought that as you climb the ranks, the questions should get harder, not easier. -- Leon
How would people in the UK feel of someone throw shoes at the Queen? The president, in theory is supposed to be the head of state as well as the head of government. That said, I certainly don't approve of deference to the president (especially not this one), and calling him "the leader of the free world" is a bit rich. I don't think most Americans have much respect for Bush.
Dead is dead. And we have done the Iraqi people no favors by illegally overthrowing their government and occupying their country. Oh, and killing them indiscriminately, raping women, and playing funny "jokes" on kids that will have a backlash for, oh, the next hundred years. -- Optimus Chyme

Optimus, the guy was just saying it wasn't suprising that the guy got beat up because Iraq is (and was) such a fucked up place.
posted by delmoi at 9:55 AM on December 18, 2008


Huh? My point was that bush's action are reproachable, but what if instead of a shoe, it was a boot, instead of a boot a brick, isntead of a brick, a knife, instead of a knife a gun. At what point would Al-Zaidi's action's not be defensable?

The more likely to kill him, the less defensible. It's not complicated.
posted by delmoi at 9:56 AM on December 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


I liked that site from a few years ago better...the one where all the Americans were sorry for electing Bush. Way more pathetic.
As for the shoe-throwing incident, I can't help but juxtapose it with an example of how our former Prime Minister dealt with a protester (he's the guy wearing one of those fucking Spin Doctors hats) who approached him in a crowd: He choked him.
posted by chococat at 9:58 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


had a shoe thrown at him by a shite

Also, it's Shi'ite.

To be fair, the shoe thrower could be a Shi'ite and a real shite at the same time.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:58 AM on December 18, 2008


At what point would Al-Zaidi's action's not be defensable?

At the point that it's not Bush on the receiving end?
posted by regicide is good for you at 10:01 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


That was a joke, by the way. But come on, the man threw a shoe. That's splitting the rent on a Venn diagram with custard pie. This wasn't an act of violence, and nowhere near assassination. It was theatre, meant to take away a power figure's authority. That's as old as people.
posted by regicide is good for you at 10:04 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


The more likely to kill him, the less defensible. It's not complicated.
posted by delmoi at 12:56 PM on December 18 [+] [!]

I guess I just disagree with you delmoi. Obviously, its more severe if the attacks had been lethal, but the guy definitely had a shot at injuring Bush. Assault is assault, and tho I doubt he would die from a shoeing, I don't think your reasoning is as cut and dried as you believe

And ya, bad spelling error, sorry
posted by rosswald at 10:06 AM on December 18, 2008


Huh? My point was that bush's action are reproachable, but what if instead of a shoe, it was a boot, instead of a boot a brick, isntead of a brick, a knife, instead of a knife a gun. At what point would Al-Zaidi's action's not be defensable?
posted by rosswald at 9:52 AM on December 18


When it's an attempt to actually injure or kill instead of a symbolic act. So I'm going to draw the line between boot and brick. Hope that helps.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:07 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


One former colleague at al-Baghdadiya who now works for the Iraqi government said that “Muntader was very keen to attract attention to himself. He would do anything t become famous.”

It would seem he has succeeded in finding fame. Now onto fortune!
posted by a3matrix at 10:08 AM on December 18, 2008


When I read "thank you for throwing your shoe," in my head it's to the tune of the Golden Girls theme.

apologies if this makes it happen to you, too...
posted by Graygorey at 10:11 AM on December 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


When it's an attempt to actually injure or kill instead of a symbolic act.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:07 PM on December 18 [+] [!]

I think your injecting your interpretation of the event, versus the actions that took place. Its *only* a symbolic act because he missed, if he had hit Bush it would be symbolic, and something else.

He could have just as easily raised his shoe, pointed the soul at bush, and said "you are lower than the dirt beneath my feet... you dog/cur/etc." That would be just symbolic
posted by rosswald at 10:15 AM on December 18, 2008


Wow, bad luck today. Thats sole.
posted by rosswald at 10:15 AM on December 18, 2008


He could have just as easily raised his shoe, pointed the soul at bush, and said "you are lower than the dirt beneath my feet... you dog/cur/etc."

In which case no one would have given a shit or reported on it in any way. And the animated gifs would have been boring as heck.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:18 AM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe so, but that just doesn't seem like a great defense.
posted by rosswald at 10:21 AM on December 18, 2008


The Secret Service's lack of reaction during and after the Shoe-Throw was strangely evocative of Bush's lack of reaction at the Booker Elementary School, when he was informed planes had hit the WTC.
posted by terranova at 10:29 AM on December 18, 2008


Submitted in lieu of actual physical proximity to Still-President Bush: one red snakeskin boot from Sweetwater, Texas.

What a horrid, petty little man.
posted by nosila at 10:40 AM on December 18, 2008


SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS!
posted by dunkadunc at 10:45 AM on December 18, 2008


“The journalist who threw the shoes badly embarrassed the government and its security apparatus. He made them seem weak and ineffective. It is not surprising that the Iraq police would beat the guy, and I do not think that anything President Bush said or did one way or the other would have encouraged or discouraged that. “
posted by Slap Factory

What makes them - and anyone - seem weak and ineffective is the use of violence when it is unnecessary. It is a hallmark of weakness to be unable to control oneself or exert authority over others without recourse to violence or the immediate threat of it.
Period.

I’ve said before, it wouldn’t have happened anywhere near me. I would not have stood for someone already eliminated as a threat and taken into custody and under control to be beaten. If necessary I would have paid for that with my life.
As it so happens, I think the “leader of the free world” might have some more influence than I do over events that occur near him. Or should.
A good leader could have stopped it with a word or a look. Near a great leader, it wouldn’t have happened in the first place.
(Without his approval of course).

“How can the Bush administration possibly give the Iraq authorities any power, yet simultaneously dictate how they deal with someone who has, as mentioned, clearly made them look like idiots in an internationally visible incident.”
posted by Brockles

Human rights. They’re pesky things. They’re supposed to apply everywhere.
And they made themselves look like idiots by beating the hell out of the guy.
Were I on the security team the guy would never have gotten his shoe off.
Were it my security team, we never would have gone there. Or I would have resigned in protest.
...lot of people seem to have resigned from this administration, no?
Probably not a whole lot of folks with any principles left on staff.
Funny thing - those folks tend to be a sloppy and ineffectual in their acts as they are internally.
They often seem to think brutality or the threat of it is some sort of deterrent. Often because it so impresses them.
I’ve fought folks like that.
...I’m still here.

“You cannot possibly, surely, be comparing mass genocide and feeding prisoners to lions with beating a suspect in custody? You do know that the second part happens in your own country fairly often, don't you?” posted by Brockles

Not as a matter of policy. Well, open policy. And it gets investigated. And people get upset. And often, they do something about it.
Wherever it happens, it’s despicable and should be exposed and stopped and those responsible should be held accountable, Jailed if found guilty, but most certainly stripped of authority and held in contempt socially.

“We were talking about this in one of my classes earlier this week and out of ten students, only one other thought there was something fucked up, something wrong about the guy getting tortured.
Even the professor, a proud Democrat, said Al-Zaidi deserved to be tortured because 'he was a journalist, and you don't throw shoes at the leader of the free world'.”
posted by dunkadunc

Tell your professor, from me, he’s an idiot.

“but when you take the law in your own hands you shouldn't be suprised when the law comes back at you.”
posted by rosswald

That’s not law, that’s an armed mob of thugs enforcing the status quo on behalf of their leaders. There’s not even the pretense of legitimate authority behind beating and torturing someone for throwing a shoe.
Violence in apprehension may be necessary. Or even violence in prevention.
If this guy took off his shoe and reared back to throw it and someone shot him I wouldn’t have faulted security.
They don’t know if he’s got some explosive device in there, or it’s some sort of other killing weapon - you just don’t know. So “guy raising his arm!” - bang bang bang. He’s dead. Oh, it’s just a shoe.
The man took the risk of being killed. Yes. And had he been, that’s acceptable.
But once he’s standing there in his sock feet, and you restrain him and he’s cuffed to a chair surrounded by a small squad of men.
Violence then and there is unacceptable.
Just because it’s ok to shoot someone when you think they’re a threat does not mean it’s justified any other time.
What if they did take him out back and shoot him?

Frankly, the security that beat him - that was the vigilantism here. The shoe thrower was acting in resistance. Certainly his legitimacy as a journalist can be questioned. And certainly the legitimacy of the Iraqi insurgency vs. the Iraqi government can be debated.
But the act itself - no, Bush was fair game because he’s the CiC.

Jean Bastien-Thiry attempted to assassinate De Gaulle with a machine gun. He was taken into custody (not tortured) and given a trial *gasp!* - even though he had endangered civilians and a non-combatant (de Gaulle’s wife) by firing the machine gun.
Granted he was executed, but he was not subjected to violence outside accordance with the law.
In the U.S. Oscar Collazo tried to kill Truman, shot a cop, was shot and taken to the hospital. Truman commuted his execution to life in prison, was later pardoned by Carter.
No one tortured "Squeaky" Fromme or Sara Jane Moore. Etc. These people actually shot at the president.
So no, the “you should expect to have it coming” argument after the fact, I don’t buy. Death, maybe. Either immediate or execution by the law. But beating and torture, no.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:00 AM on December 18, 2008 [18 favorites]


“Condoning any act of violence against a president seems foolish, no matter how much you hate Bush or detest with his actions.”
posted by roaring beast

Condoning? There is nothing special about the man in the office. He’s just a man. The office, that is delegated authority that is supposed to express the will of the people. He’s not appointed by divine right.
As for the violence, he’s in a war zone.
If my country was being occupied by a foreign military that I felt was an invasion force and I was a guerilla, the commander in chief of those forces is fair game.
In fact, he’s a high value target.
What, he can’t be killed like anyone else? Why?
I never understood the ‘no assassination’ order. Makes no damned sense to me. Why should 100,000 men go off to fight and maybe die, chew up all sorts of real estate, do property damage as well as human collateral, maybe innocent women and kids, when a small crew can take out one guy and accomplish the same objective?

“ Look at this way, if a Saudi head of state came to Iraq, gave a press conference with Al-Maliki, and had a shoe thrown at him by a shite, his ass would be in jail.”
posted by rosswald

If the DS was handling it that guy would be smoothly neutralized using violence only if necessary and to the degree necessary. He’d be taken into custody, questioned, given a hearing and be awaiting trial. If he had a mark on him it would be an abberation of - not compliance with - policy and the law.

“‘So if instead of a shoe, it was a bullet to the brain? That would be ok?
posted by rosswald at 9:30 AM
‘No, that would not be okay, and no one in this thread has claimed as such.’ posted by Optimus Chyme”

Allow me to be the first. Bush set foot in a war zone in an unpacified country. He is the commander in chief (hell, he even wore military regalia). He is a fair target - period.

Let’s not confuse him with some innocent civilian. Civilians, non-combatants should not be (and for the most part aren’t) deliberately targeted (granted, there are exceptions so glaring as to make it seem otherwise - but it’s not policy, unspoken or otherwise).
Bush is not in anyway - despite the title ‘Mister’ - a non-combatant.
He’s fair game. For shoes, bullets, anything else.
Such is war. If someone on the ground in a war zone who has nothing to do with the goings on has to take heat from a little spillover, I see no reason the commander of the forces doing the fighting should somehow be off limits.
Killing him would be within the laws of war. Acceptable, if not ideal.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:07 AM on December 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


Anyone else think that journalists writing headlines like "Bush Shoe Hurler 'Unlaced'" should quit their jobs?
posted by smorris at 12:29 PM on December 18, 2008


I never understood the ‘no assassination’ order.

In the context of war, or just as a general rule? Our Commander in Chief is a civilian, so killing him would be against the Geneva Convention. But there's plenty of reasons for not assassinating people. For one, it's an extrajudicial punishment and two, it's more commonly used by despotic regimes and non-state actors, than legitimate governments. That's not to say our government hasn't used to to effect regime change, which is very highly uncool as well.
posted by electroboy at 1:27 PM on December 18, 2008


While I do think the al-Zaidi is probably getting tortured, has there been any independent confirmation of this beyond his brother's statements to the media?

Way back up here, I linked the New York Times. To quote them again:

"Mr. Zaidi was subdued by a fellow journalist and then beaten by members of the prime minister’s security detail, who hauled him out of the room in his white socks. Mr. Zaidi’s cries could be heard from a nearby room as the news conference continued."

Now, I suppose you could generously argue that Bush was briefly escorted out of the room while this beating took place, and then returned once al-Zaidi had been removed to the "nearby room".

Otherwise, I would have to infer that Bush would actually have been in the room while this unarmed, harmless man was being beaten by security guards. And, if that wasn't inexcusable enough, as the press conference (with Bush present) continues, you could hear the guy screaming down the hall as the beating presumably reached new heights.

This would be funny in its extreme absurdity if it weren't really happening.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:55 PM on December 18, 2008


There is no explanation so far as to why the hearing took place a day earlier than planned at a secret location without the presence of al-Zeidi’s legal team or family.

No explanation. What can the reason be? Hmm. Hmmm.

/rubs chin
posted by stinkycheese at 2:05 PM on December 18, 2008


Huh? My point was that bush's action are reproachable, but what if instead of a shoe, it was a boot, instead of a boot a brick, isntead of a brick, a knife, instead of a knife a gun. At what point would Al-Zaidi's action's not be defensable?

What? Have we become incapable of judging individual situations based on their facts?

Next time someone goes to court for hitting their neighbor, should the judge say "Well, what if you had kicked him instead? Or stabbed him? Or shot him? Or shot him and raped his body? Clearly, you should get the death penalty" ?
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:53 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


electroboy - in the context of war.
The CiC is the commander in chief of the armed forces. In a war, he’s a legit target. It doesn’t matter that he’s a civilian.
On the other hand, getting technical, we’re not in a declared war per se and so he’s not the CiC exactly.
But as a practical matter, regional commanders on the theater level (E.g EUCOM, CENTCOM) are (or were until a bit ago, I forgot when) commanders in chief. They too are in the chain of command and can give orders to troops in the field - ergo - fair game.
The SecDef is in the chain of command as well - he’d be fair game. As would be the joint chiefs of staff, etc.
On the one hand though, that’s changed a bit in recent years, but on the other, the assertion as unitary executive I think leaves Bush open to it.
The power to command means command responsibilities.
I assert Bush (and Rumsfeld) can be held responsible for war crimes on his watch under the same criteria.
He’s a civilian in that he doesn’t hold rank. But the office of president is unique in that he has de jure policy command and therefore the military is subordinate to him.

I would argue a senator or representative is not a legitimate target. Alibet for practical purposes in a war zone, they might be targeted. (I’d avoid doing it as a guerilla - as a matter of policy. Opportunity is where you find it tho)


“it's an extrajudicial punishment and two, it's more commonly used by despotic regimes and non-state actors, than legitimate governments.”

In general I agree. In war though, it’s not punishment. As for its use by governments other than legitimate ones - how does one differentiate between a guerilla fighting a rebellion and a non-state actor with an agenda?
It’s a tactic like any other. Its restriction isn’t going to stop its use. Most certainly not by unrecognized combatants. Logically - how does one penalize them for using it?

But still, they risk death in the field and prosecution when/if they’re caught so it’s a moot point really.
No one condones this type of action, or voting with a bullet, etc. We don’t have to like it, but it’s going to happen.
I think the world could have been saved a lot of trouble if someone assassinated Hussein before any of this got started.
That is without addressing whether he deserved it or not.
But I strongly suspect the Iraqi people would rather not have had the invasion.

The same could be said of Bush of course. And, to be honest, had I known, I would have taken him out myself.
But none of us know the future. Oh, we ‘know.’ A lot of folks ‘knew’ Iraq didn’t have WMDs but they didn’t know it the way we have evidence for certain on something. We can conjecture and strongly suspect, and be pretty sure, but unless we have first hand evidence and see it for ourselves we don’t really know.

So on that score, no, I agree with you.
I don’t believe even the strongest suspicion is worth deliberately taking someone’s life.
So I couldn’t imagine assassinating anyone who wasn’t an immediate and obvious threat.
But no one goes on t.v. and says “I’m going to nuke Florida!” or some such craziness. I mean, if Bush put a gun to some kid’s head and raved that he was going to kill him, I’m pretty sure (or at least I’d hope) a police sniper would take him out.
But that’s nonsense really. So again, moot point.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:23 PM on December 18, 2008


(And I'm against the death penalty on the same criteria)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:25 PM on December 18, 2008


Egyptian offers daughter to Iraqi shoe-thrower.
posted by gman at 4:39 PM on December 18, 2008


In Canada we throw boots.

In Soviet Russia, shoe throw you
posted by Deep Dish at 4:59 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Next time someone goes to court for hitting their neighbor, should the judge say "Well, what if you had kicked him instead? Or stabbed him? Or shot him? Or shot him and raped his body? Clearly, you should get the death penalty" ?
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:53 PM on December 18 [+] [!] '


Thats not how I meant it. What I am trying to say is that it doesn't matter if Al-Zaidi spit his chewing gum at the president, he should still probably go to jail.

I know the popular sentiment is "bush deserved it, and it was just a shoe so whats the big deal" but it doesn't help Iraq if the guy doesn't go to jail. Lots of people deserve bad things to happen to them, but that doesn't mean its a good idea to let people dole out justice willy nilly. I think whether it was Bush, or another head of state, the guy did something that is pretty clearly punishable. He HAD to know going in that he wasn't gonna walk out of there a free man, and in some ways it was probably worth it. I just don't think its a good sign if he is released due to the popularity of his act. He knew the reprecussions, and did it. That took balls, but now he has to live with it.
posted by rosswald at 5:21 PM on December 18, 2008


I do not think that anything President Bush said or did one way or the other would have encouraged or discouraged that.

That is SUCH RIDICULOUS BULLSHIT. If Bush had said, "Make sure that man isn't hurt, I want to speak with him tonight," there is no question they'd have done it.

One former colleague at al-Baghdadiya who now works for the Iraqi government said (any old shit he was instructed to say to discredit the shoe thrower). Are you really that gullible?

That took balls, but now he has to live with it.

More likely, die from it. But heck, throwing shoes at a mass murderer! You deserve what you get, having your teeth knocked out, having your arms broken, years in jail. Throwing shoes at someone is just such a terrible crime! I can't imagine what would have happened if he'd actually hit him...

You can see Bush grinning away in the video as a horde of people descend on the thrower and beat him (you hear him screaming). What a horrible, horrible human. What a disgrace to all of us.

It's funny that you've had a powerful man shit all over the rule of law for eight years, consequentially responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands and yet many of you are all self-righteous about "you shouldn't break the law" - about the shoe thrower! If there were any justice, Mr. Bush would be in jail for the rest of his life.

I'm deeply proud of the shoe thrower and what he did. He's a hero. I'd do anything to be able to save him.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:13 PM on December 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


Look at this crap.

Shoe thrower offers a written apology in a letter - yet he's "too injured" to appear in court. Sure I believe that!

"Mr Zaidi was wrestled to the ground by security guards and frogmarched from the room." You can see in the very video on the BBC site that he's being beaten and kicked the moment he falls down - longer videos show more of it but it's always cut off before he leaves - I assume because he's unable to walk or is unconscious.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:22 PM on December 18, 2008


Shoe thrower offers a written apology in a letter

Dear Lisa, As I write this I am very sad. Our president has been overthrown and replaced by the benevolent General Thrull. All hail Thrull and his glorious new regime! Sincerly, Little Girl.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:44 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


The CiC is the commander in chief of the armed forces. In a war, he’s a legit target. It doesn’t matter that he’s a civilian.

I agree that he's part of the military chain of command, but I think it's one of those untested areas of the Geneva Convention, so there's probably some difference of opinion. It'd probably be a little clearer in a military dictatorship where the President is also a military commander.

Likewise, assassinations are not explicitly prohibited by Geneva, but it's vague enough so that if you wanted to do it, you could justify it. But then you get into all sorts of weird situations depending on how it's carried out. For example, a military sniper killing an enemy general would be ok, but a military sniper dressed as a civilian would not, since it relies on perfidy to be successful. But yeah, realistically they're just going to do it and let the lawyers make the argument after the fact.

As for its use by governments other than legitimate ones - how does one differentiate between a guerilla fighting a rebellion and a non-state actor with an agenda?

I'm sure you can argue it either way, but from what I've read you have to be more or less part of an organized group who is easily recognizable to be military/militia and obey the laws of war to be entitled to POW status. But even then, how enemy combatants are treated depends on which sections of Geneva you've ratified, or not.
posted by electroboy at 8:04 PM on December 18, 2008


Makes me wish we wore hatchets on our feet. Or chainsaws, or, like Buicks or something.
posted by exlotuseater at 11:20 PM on December 18, 2008


Even the professor, a proud Democrat, said Al-Zaidi deserved to be tortured because 'he was a journalist, and you don't throw shoes at the leader of the free world'.

What's his moral code?

"One shoe, oh that's just a light beating. Two shoes, welllllll.... you're looking at some broken ribs, definitely a broken arm, maybe some teeth. Not molars, that'd be barbaric, but kick him in the face a few times..."

Now, if we had an actual, you know, president, he or she would have investigators parachuting in and finding the damn torturers.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:32 PM on December 18, 2008


The flash game we've all been waiting for.
posted by strangeguitars at 11:49 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


“But even then, how enemy combatants are treated depends on which sections of Geneva you've ratified, or not.”

All pretty good points. And I agree.
But, given the Bush administration’s take on the Geneva conventions, I’d say they’re pretty much completely off the table at this point.
And, generally speaking, were as soon as Bushco mooted them. Laws are only as strong as the possiblity of enforcement. One of my staff got ‘arrested’ under some doofy circumstances (local corruption and whatnot) and some officers came to serve the warrant and all they got was a good laugh all around.
So it is realpolitick to a degree.
It’s unfortunate that this administration has decided to flout the conventions rather than support and enforce them though.
No one’s the top dog forever.
And we’ve been setting prescedents for unilateral international power.

“What I am trying to say is that it doesn't matter if Al-Zaidi spit his chewing gum at the president, he should still probably go to jail.”

Well rosswald - I disagree with ‘should.’ Dissent can be pretty subjective. Should he have been apprehended? Sure. You have to make sure he’s not a threat. And I’d expect him to go to jail, yeah (though I personally support this specific act).
Releasing him or not - debatable.

But I think you’re making the argument that if one breaks the law, one should expect to suffer certain consequences, among some of them is possibly being sentenced to jail time. I take no issue with that.

I do disagree with certain themes implicit in your argument. I see no reason to respect an authority which acts illegitimately. This particular individual acted on it. I applaud that.
Bush should be handed truck loads of grief from everyone and his uncle if they disagree with him, social occasion or no.

And again - the shoe thrower is not a vigilante. He is not attempting to enforce a law by extralegal means, he is a dissenter. His act was one of dissent and protest. Since it took a somewhat violent form (assault) he was (rightfully) arrested.
The vigilantism occured when he was beaten. Everyone involved in that was doleing out punishment (not justice) willy nilly because they thought what he did was bad.

The President’s job is to enforce the law. Granted the law of Iraq is not U.S. law, but certain fundimental principles apply universally.

And whether it happens here, there or elsewhere, beating a subject in custody is not in line with any law I’m familiar with.

This is, in the scheme of Bush’s crimes, a small thing, but it is indicative of the ongoing dereliction of his duty and his open contempt for the very thing his office was created for.

He should have been impeached years ago. And if anyone in power was interested in justice, he would have been.
As it is, I still think he should be prosecuted for war crimes once he leaves office.

If and when that happens, while I might gleen some visceral satisfaction from it, I would not want him beaten as he was taken into custody.
And, I suspect, neither would you.

It is not for law enforcement to determine or dole out punishment. That’s for a court of law.

I understand your point in practical terms. But I would have to say, if accept your argument as valid, the shoe thrower is even more of a hero, since he would too have to know that he’s going to catch a beating for it and may be tortured for the expression of his beliefs.

Sounds like a hero to me.

Hell, if I didn’t have people depending on me I’d get some people together and bust the ballsy son of a bitch out of jail myself.

...well, what the hell, I’ve got some vacation time coming.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:38 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


CBS News Baghdad producer Randall Joyce says al-Zeidi has been kept completely out of the reach of his legal representation and his family since the show-throwing incident late on Sunday - a fact which typifies a deeply flawed Iraqi justice system.
posted by homunculus at 3:52 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Guy's a hero. I hope he comes out of this alive.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:16 AM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


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