themcglynn.com

18 Dec

Shoe Attack On Bush

“This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog.”

The shoe-throwing incident happened as Bush discussed falling levels of violence in Iraq [AP]

George Bush, the US president, has had a pair of shoes hurled at him at a press conference during his last surprise visit to Iraq before leaving office in January.

An Iraqi reporter called Bush “a dog” and shouted out “this is the end” at Sunday’s news conference in Baghdad, before throwing his shoes at the US leader.

Bush, who had been giving a joint press statement with Nuri Al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, ducked behind a podium as the shoes narrowly missed his head.

He was reported to be unhurt after the attack by Muntadar al-Zeidi, a correspondent for Al-Baghdadiya television, the Associated Press news agency reported.

The outgoing US leader had just told reporters that while the war in Iraq was not over “it is decisively on its way to being won,” when al-Zeidi got to his feet and hurled abuse – and his footwear – at the US president.

Sign of contempt: In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt.

The hurling of shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush on his farewell visit to Iraq strikes many in the Middle East as a fittingly furious comment on what they see as his calamitous legacy in the region.

Arab and Iranian TV stations have gleefully replayed the clip, sometimes in slow motion, of an Iraqi reporter calling Bush a “dog” and throwing his shoes at him – the Middle East’s tastiest insults – at a Baghdad news conference on Sunday.

The affront was a twisted echo of the triumphal moment for Bush when joyous Iraqis used their footwear to beat a statue of Saddam Hussein toppled by U.S. invading troops in 2003.

“It indicates how much antagonism he’s been able to create in the whole region,” former Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher told Reuters, adding that the incident was regrettable.

Bush had harmed America’s reputation and the friendship many had felt for it. “Despite past mistakes in its policies, there was always a redeeming factor. In this particular case, there doesn’t seem to have ever been a redeeming factor,” Maher said.

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