President George W. Bush got a very special farewell message during his unannounced visit to Baghdad this weekend. In the middle of a press conference in Baghdad, an Iraqi reported removed both of his shoes and threw them at the President’s head screaming: “This is a farewell kiss, you dog!” The reporter was identified as Muntadar al-Zeidi of the Albaghdadia television network.
The video of the incident captured by the Assoicated Press shows President Bush ducking as the each of the shoes flew towards his head. Both of the shoes flew into one of the many American flags behind the podium before smacking against the wall. President Bush stared at the man with a blank look of confusion as he flung his shoes and screamed his insults. Bush kept a confused smile on his face as other reporters pinned al-Zeidi to the ground and officials rushed into the room to control the situation.
In Iraqi culture, throwing one’s shoes at someone is considered the ultimate insult. In the infamous footage of the “liberation” of Iraq in 2003, crowds showed their contempt for Saddam Hussein by hurling shoes at the head of the statue that U.S. Marines tore down.
In a profound example of his inability to understand the contempt that his invasion of Iraq has caused throughout the world, President Bush showed no signs of being upset by the event. “So what if a guy threw his shoe at me?” he told a reporter shortly after the event. He seemed to have no understanding of or concern over the significance of the incident.
More than five years after Iraqis celebrated the downfall of Saddam Hussein by pelting him with podiatric insults, President Bush was now being seen as the oppressor–taking the image of the American people down with him.
“I don’t know what the guy’s cause is,” said the President in a later news conference.
No,…of COURSE you don’t.
President Bush made an unannounced trip to Iraq this weekend to speak about the progress that had been made in Iraq during his presidency. President Bush justified the invasion of Iraq in 2003 by claiming that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction” in his possession, a claim that was later shown to be without evidence or merit.
A survey conducted by Iraqi Health Ministry Casualty and published in the New England Journal of Medicines estimates that somewhere between 104,000 and 223,000 Iraqis have died since the U.S. invasion in 2003. A U.S. Department of Defense report dated December 12, 2008 lists the current number of American fatalities at 4,211.
Department of Defense:
Iraq War-WMD Controversy
Estimate of Iraqi Casualties