Who throws a shoe? Honestly! You fight like a woman!

Here’s my take, a few days late, on the shoe-throwing incident in Iraq. Because I’m short on time, I’ll keep it simple.

The coverage of this bizarre turn of events has been interesting. The mainstream press has had no problem discussing how the throwing of shoes is the ultimate insult in the Middle East, how this journalist is now being viewed as a hero of sorts (to Bush-hating Iraqis and American journalists alike, I presume), and how the shoe-mania is spreading across the Muslim world. What I haven’t heard from the mainstream press, however, is why this man was permitted to throw his shoes at the American president in the first place.

No, I’m not asking why in the sense that President Bush’s Secret Service detail allowed a man to shout ominous insults–something along the lines of “this is a farewell kiss, you dog!”–and manage to throw not one but two loafers, but rather in the sense that, but for the man at the podium, but for the target of the tossed leather, that Iraqi journalist would not have been able to throw his shoes in disgust at a press conference — at least not allowed to do so without consequence.

Throw a shoe or two at Saddam Hussein and, if he did make it out of the press room alive, that journalist certainly wouldn’t ever be able to wear shoes again.

I know that the Iraq war was started under questionable circumstances. I know that it was mismanaged from the time that Saddam’s statue fell–and was beaten with shoes!–to the time that the Bush/Petraeus surge put more boots on the ground. I know it hasn’t been perfect. Men, women and children have died. Families and communities have been divided and ruined. A country with a rich history went from a stable oppressive dictatorship to a chaotic fledgling democracy.

However, the very freedom which allowed that Iraqi journalist to hurl his size 10s at President George W. Bush without serious consequences was afforded to him by President George W. Bush, a man who stuck with his principles and his hope for democracy and freedom to usurp tyranny, by all accounts a deliberative man of great faith.

I hope, in vain, that this angle is not lost on the many who looked at this story as a humorous one. Not that humor is bad –even the president joked about it later–but that it can, in some cases, cloud the real issues at hand. This incident was a testament to the changes we’ve seen in Iraq. They’re not always pretty, but the fruits of the labor of our fighting men and women are quite evident in the point made so artfully–and likely so unwittingly–by that very shoe-throwing journalist.

We can throw shoes in this country. We can publicly lambaste the sitting president for making bad decisions (as Bush is about to do with regard to this automotive industry bailout). It’s a great country for that reason and more, and I am happy to see that Iraq and the Iraqi people are getting a taste of that same freedom.

(And yes, I put up the Austin Powers video on purpose — by now, everyone has seen the shoe-throwing footage, so I thought I’d mix it up a little.)


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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t throwing a shoe at someone assault? Or attempted assault, if the shoe doesn’t hit the target? In the U.S., if a “journalist” (the term is often not deserved these days), could not a criminal charge of assault be brought?
    .

  2. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Yes, assault it is.

    Actually, assault can be even the reasonably-perceived threat of injury.

    With regard to this case, I’m just happy that the USSS didn’t off the guy. Could you IMAGINE the international incident? I mean, I’d be behind them if they did–of course, security checks were done, but so what? He could have had anything in those shoes!–but it would have opened up a regrettable can of worms.

    In the linked video, you can see that Bush is smiling. While I certainly don’t agree with him much of the time, and think that he’s driving our economy into the ground, I liked his attitude with regard to this incident.

    I just wish he’d have caught one of them and thrown it right back at the guy!

  3. Koyaan says:

    Jeff Schreiber wrote:

    However, the very freedom which allowed that Iraqi journalist to hurl his size 10s at President George W. Bush without serious consequences was afforded to him by President George W. Bush, a man who stuck with his principles and his hope for democracy and freedom to usurp tyranny, by all accounts a deliberative man of great faith.

    Unless I heard wrong, the guy was in jail and was facing some rather serious charges that could keep him behind bars for years.

    If this is true, I hope Bush is able to convince Iraqi authorities to lighten up on the guy. Spending years in jail just doesn’t seem to be a fitting end given how nonchalantly Bush responded to the incident.

    k

  4. Jeff Schreiber says:

    I understand where you’re coming from, Koyann, and I hope the president does too. However, two arguments against that –

    (1) Even in a free society, people must be held accountable for their actions. The journalist would be lucky to see prison, considering that a few years ago, he’d be meeting Allah and his family would end up raped and tortured.

    (2) If Bush asks the Iraqis to lighten up on this guy, but doesn’t free Agents Compean and Ramos, I’m going to be PISSED.

  5. Anonymous says:

    He is still our President and deserves respect. Oh but, this shoe throwing incident was from “someone who doesn’t like us very much” so maybe we should sit down with him without precondition. I think President Bush handled this very well and although I don’t always agree with his policies I do respect him.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree with you that the contrast between what happened to Muntader al-Zaidi now and what would have happened under Saddam Hussein is startling. If al-Zaidi had had the courage to throw his shoes at Saddam, I would have been more impressed.

    But why do you think being ‘a man of great faith’ is a positive attribute?

    Faith is believing in something when you have no evidence. I’d much rather have a leader with reasoned skepticism as his tool than faith. Reasoned skepticism might have prevented the WMD lies that Bush used to get us into Iraq in the first place.

  7. John Galt says:

    (And yes, I put up the Austin Powers video on purpose — by now, everyone has seen the shoe-throwing footage, so I thought I'd mix it up a little.)>.

    Sorry buddy, I didn't see it and have no interest in seeing it or anything else broadcast from a Muslim country.

    The U.S. never should have gone into Iraq. All it is, is a replay of the Christian crusades from 1,000 years ago.

    A total waste of lives and money.

    People who think that 10 years from now things will be any different in Iraq than if we had not gone in their are naive and don't know squat about history and the Muslim mentality.

    Even Turkey which is considered the most moderate of Muslim nations is in very serious danger of coming under Sharia law.

    Just think if the U.S. had spent all that money that they wasted in Iraq on Energy independence. That would have crippled the Muslim world a lot more than this useless war.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Isn't the loafer-lobber upset that Bush & the USA will now be abandoning Iraq? Why would he think that? Why does that upset him? Are there many other Iraqis that feel the same? I'm confused.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Jeff mentioned Compean and Ramos…hear hear…I totally agree with that!!!!
    I have to ask myself…even though I don’t at all agree with the shoe throwing incident and do believe the man deserves jail time…but, if Bush is so bent on freedom and democracy for Iraq, then why does he keep selling out OURS?????

  10. Anonymous says:

    The shoe-thrower should not get a pardon — from Bush or Iraq’s leader. He knew what he was doing, and he was playing for attention. He got it, now he can live with it — be it years in jail.

    You’re precisely correct about your two points, Jeff! Thank you for being such a good writer/thinker.
    .

  11. toto says:

    I too, am a little surprised the USSS didn’t off the guy, I suppose he’s lucky there, although I’m sure he would be held as a martyr.

    BTW, nice job on all these blogs Jeff, and keep up the good work, just don’t get behind the 8 ball on your school work because of it.

  12. Laptoplizard, TN says:

    From someone who “Has been there , done that” I can assure all,that it was in fact Mr. Bush and the American Soldiers who gave this ass the “right” to throw those shoes and stay alive.

    And you are right that our Media was more than willing to jump all over this incident, while I am sure they didnt bother to check and see how many of those Iraq’ reporters wrote positive and encouraging stories about the visit.

    Being someone who would not BET on the FL Gators to beat a local high school team…I WOULD bet there were far more positive stories than negative ones that came from that room.

    As for Mr. Bush interviening in the mans punishment under Iraq’ law. I can not agree with that.

    Which is it? Their country or one in which WE dictate what they do?

    It seems as always some people want it both ways. Such an assault here in the US would certainly earn one some serious jail time…Would it not?

    It is up to the Iraq’ Govt what to do with this individual it isnt our business.

    I have been a visitor and supporter of YOUR site and will continue to be such.

    However the cartoon IMO is a “Shoe in the Face” so to speak to Myself and ALL the Iraq Freedom Veterans who are still paying the price for giving those people their freedom.
    I wonder of all those who complained about the Al Gore gif. How many will have similar complaints about this cartoon?

    Then again, If they havent been there they never will understand.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Would you want you Grandmother to see that awful picture of Al Gore? I hope you realize that some of us(especially us grandmothers) have more traditional values leaning towards common courtesy and decency. Jeff, you lower and debase yourself by putting something like that online. I know that deep down you’re better than that. I believe that posting that picture is something that one day you will regret having done. Please, make your point about Al Gore without losing your dignity and while gaining more respect from other people. You have so much talent and such an inspiring way with words. I have always looked forward to reading your posts and sharing them. I’ve recommended this blog to many people. However, I am afraid to do so now as I don’t want anyone to think that animated picture is acceptable to me.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Well thank god that thousands of Americans have died, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been displaced, and billions of dollars have been wasted to give one nimrod the right to throw his shoe. I guess it was all worth it. On to the next country where people aren’t able to throw shoes!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thanks to George Bush he also has the freedom to wrap a bomb around his stomach and blow himself up in a heavily crowded market.

    God Bless America!

  16. Anonymous says:

    I saw a second video at home on the subject, and I’m not sure if it was included in yours (I’m blocked from viewing video here at work). I believe it was a British take on the event; they interviewed several Iraqi supporters of the reporter. One particular comment really jabbed me…paraphrased it was “Bush sent America here, but yet there is still no democracy.”

    To me, this implies that we were to give the democracy to them somehow. Correct me if I’m wrong, but democracy is a government of the people – NOT given to them by a dictator…those who have the same mindset as this guy will never have a democracy because they will not take it on their own! We can only make it a safe environment for democracy to spawn itself…

  17. allison says:

    This is unrelated to your post, but it’s disturbing so I thought I’d put it up here. It resembles what’s been happening here in the States.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,467306,00.html

    This PC bull**** is really infuriating. These are prison inmates!

  18. John says:

    Lock the guy up and throw away the key is what I say. Everything in a free society has consequences.

    Personally, I’m shocked the Iraqi’s are not embarrased about this guy. Not because he threw the shoes, but because the guy had two chances to hit the president, and he missed both times. I’m not saying I wish he would have Hit the President, but this guys aim really stinks.

  19. sonicninjakitty says:

    This is just more evidence half the people in this world do not know what the hey they are doing and/or have figured out knowledge and hard work are for fools: 1) Secret Service can’t even take a shoe for the prez–forget about a bullet 2) no one checks qualifications for office of prez–birth certificate optional 3) there is no SEC, or they exist but don’t do anything about $50 billion scandals and trillion dollar government backed mortgage brokers 4) all you really need is the last name ‘Kennedy’ to get ahead of people who bust their buns for decades with honest hard work. Sheesh.

  20. goddessdivine says:

    Watching the incident feels like I’m watching a junior high student have a temper tantrum. Ridiculous. If anything, Iraqi journalism has lost respect (if it had any to begin with). Bush may not be the greatest president, but I’m always impressed with his demeanor and humor in responding to the multiple assaults (verbal and physical) that are launched his way.

  21. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Laptoplizard,

    I perceived the cartoon as, if anything, an underscore as to the sacrifice of our brave fighting men and women over there.

    My late uncle was a tunnel rat in Vietnam. I know about stories, I’ve heard about the pain, but I can never truly understand it. For that reason, if I thought this in any way was meant to cause offense or disparage our troops, I would not have run it.

    The Al Gore animation, however, I stick with. I’ve got a global warming piece that is just BREWING inside of me, that if I even had an extra moment, I’d write. Ugh.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Actually the guy’s aim was pretty good. But, if he saw Bush duck and miss the first one he should have aimed a bit lower on the second. Perhaps why it’s taken so long to train their own guys to fight without help and supervision!

    Anonymous said…
    Well thank god that thousands of Americans have died, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been displaced, and billions of dollars have been wasted to give one nimrod the right to throw his shoe. I guess it was all worth it.

    I believe it’s been a bit more than your easy assessment. You see, due to the decoys over there taking the “treatment” you and all our fine brave journalists here have had your own behinds protected ever since in order to protect and front for the frauds like Obama who’ve only taken from the country thru fellow unpunished thugs.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Mr. President! Free Ramos and Compean

    Sign petition to commute sentences of Border Patrol agents

    http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=83767

    President Bush thinking of border agent pardons?
    Families tearfully put hope in clemency during last days

    http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=83738

  24. Quint says:

    Shades of Nikita Khrushchev, at the UN, yelling at US, “We will bury you”, while Thumping his shoe on the ‘counter’.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Jeff;

    I would appreciate it if you could just inform everyone of the next step in the process and that those who do not like the result so far must encourage their Senators and Congressman to abide by their Oath of Office to protect the Constitution and to Object at the Certification on January 6
    It will only take One Senator and One Congressman

  26. K says:

    To Anon @ 10:34AM

    Amen!

    The basis of our Constitutional Republic is self-government. If individuals cannot be SELF-governed, then the whole thing falls apart.

    It is hard for Iraqis and others who have lived in such oppressive goverments to understand this concept, much less grab hold of it for themselves.

    Mr. James Rose (American Christian historian and educator) once said that translating his works into Spanish (for Mexico) was difficult b/c there was no corresponding word for liberty — at least not with the same depth of meaning that it has in the American English language.

    So I ask….. are Americans self-governed? Or do they require external government? We get the (civil) government that reflects what is in the individual hearts of its citizens.

    K

  27. K says:

    PLEASE HELP IF YOU CAN!

    A Letter from Michael Farris,
    President of ParentalRights.org.

    Dear Friend of Parental Rights,

    I was in the United States Senate this past week meeting with lawyers for a Senate office. They told me directly what I have been hearing indirectly on a regular basis ever since the election.

    Those who want to change family policy in America to comply with international law are preparing a full-scale effort to seek ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child during this next Congress. Barbara Boxer recently told a planning group that they intend to use children’s health care as leverage to seek ratification of this UN children’s rights treaty.

    Please link to our website to see a succinct summary of the problems with this UN treaty.

    The strength of their forces has been greatly increased with the addition of Hillary Clinton as the nominee for Secretary of State. She will have direct control over the submission of this treaty to the Senate and will acquire the authority under international law to sign any other treaty on any subject.

    Hillary Clinton was the person who made the announcement for the Convention on the Rights of the Child when her husband’s administration signed the treaty. Seeking its ratification is a lifelong dream for her.

    Our situation is grim if we were to look only at the position of the elected officials.

    However, recent post-election polling demonstrates that almost 70% of Americans do not believe that the use of international law in American courts on such matters is appropriate. Less than 20% favor the use of international law. (The rest are undecided). Virtually every sub-group in America opposes this kind of use of international law.

    America is on our side. However, we have to be able to get the word out to help people hear the truth about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    Our proposed Parental Rights Amendment will permanently stop this treaty. So we have a one-two punch planned for the internationalists.

    First, we must build a huge grassroots movement of patriotic Americans who believe that good families should be able to raise their children without worrying about compliance with international law.

    Second, these same grassroots forces need to convince our elected officials that we are not content with defeating this treaty for today alone. We insist on a permanent solution. We need the Parental Rights Amendment.

    I need you to do two things to help this become a reality. First, please send a copy of this letter to everyone you know who believes in parental rights and American patriotism.

    Second, we need to raise a war chest to get prepared to launch a massive grassroots campaign. The other side has millions of dollars left in their campaign coffers, and they have the President of the United States, the Secretary of State and all the media waiting to carry their message.

    We can win the debate because we have the truth on our side. And we have public opinion. But we won’t win if we can’t reach people.

    Will you please make as big a gift as you can to support Parentalrights.org?

    Here is what they are saying about us. At the hearing which featured Barbara Boxer, one of the speakers said that the people who will oppose this treaty are the “narcissistic sovereignty crowd.” In other words, those who love America first are so guilty of excessive self-love that he describes us as having the mental illness of narcissism.

    This is their real heart. Not only do they want international law to control our families. They think that we are mentally ill for loving America.

    It is time for those of us who believe in loving our families and loving America to rise up! We will not surrender this country or our children to such people.

    Get involved today! The battle is about to begin.

    For God, family, and America,

    Michael Farris

  28. Koyaan says:

    Anonymous wrote:

    Actually the guy’s aim was pretty good. But, if he saw Bush duck and miss the first one he should have aimed a bit lower on the second.

    If I’m not mistaken, I think the guy was already on his way to the floor when he let loose with the second shoe.

    k

  29. gailbullock says:

    THIS JUST IN: The Supreme Court ruled today that there cannot be a Nativity scene in Washington, D.C. this Christmas. This isn’t for any religious or constitutional reason, they simply have not been able to find three wise men and a virgin in the nation’s capitol. There was no problem, however, finding enough jackasses to fill the stable.
    (Sorry, couldn’t resist sharing!)

  30. Simonetta Vespucci says:

    Dear Jeff,

    I know you meant no harm but as a woman and long time student of Shaolin Kung Fu, I take issue with your heading, “fight like a woman”.

    Not this woman. :)

  31. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Simonetta,

    Now that may be the coolest comment I’ve received at America’s Right so far.

    Of course I meant no harm — the headline is a quote from “Austin Powers.” See the video. (So, if you feel the need to wreak some physical havoc, please take it up with Mike Myers.)

    As an aside — Shaolin Kung Fu, huh? Can you teach my daughter? PLEASE? As an overprotective dad, nothing would make me happier than knowing she could take care of herself.

    – Jeff

  32. Ihatesalantro says:

    “However, the very freedom which allowed that Iraqi journalist to hurl his size 10s at President George W. Bush without serious consequences was afforded to him by President George W. Bush, a man who stuck with his principles and his hope for democracy and freedom to usurp tyranny, by all accounts a deliberative man of great faith.”

    Jeff, I have been a reader of your blog for several months now. This article that you wrote is awesome. It actually inspired me to join in on the discussion.

    The paragraph of above is very moving, I can’t really describe how I felt when I read it. Just – wow!

    I am also looking forward to your global warming article.

    Thankyou for your thoughful writing.

  33. Todd Family Times says:

    allison said…

    This is unrelated to your post, but it’s disturbing so I thought I’d put it up here. It resembles what’s been happening here in the States.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,467306,00.html

    This PC bull**** is really infuriating. These are prison inmates!

    This is scary because it could happen hear under our noses. Can America survive this?

  34. Koyaan says:

    Jeff, did my reply to you not make it through moderation or did I just goof up and thought I’d sent it when I’d only done a preview?

    No biggie if it didn’t. Just want to know so I don’t spend time re-writing a reply that won’t make it through moderation.

    Thanks.

    k

  35. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for joke Gail.
    I got the best laugh I’ve
    had in months.

  36. Simonetta Vespucci says:

    Lol!!!

    Yes, Jeff when she is old enough, please teach her a martial art..it takes so little to break a bone here and there. :) Good for mind and body..

    your admirer,

    Simonetta

  37. Anonymous says:

    Someone needs to make a series of clips of all the movies, especially the old ones, where a woman would take off her high heeled shoe and throw it.

    Then, put it on Youtube. Show the people in the middle east that show throwing is done by woman having a hissy fit and is not an insult to us. Thus, the insult is on the ‘journalist’ as he would be seen by Americans as a girl having a hissy fit.

    Bush’s reaction was perfect. My Mom used to tell me, “Don’t let them see that they got your goat.”

  38. Anonymous says:

    Jeff,
    I left my comment in the wrong section so I am resubmitting it. I wanted to say thank you for removing the cartoon about Bush and the shoe incident. While I get the humor, it is unfitting to direct this at Bush as he more than any other President appreciates the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform make for our country. He visits wounded soldiers and meets with families of deceased soldiers. These meetings have to be extremely difficult and emotional for President Bush, but I believe he feels it is a true honor to meet with these brave Americans.

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