Monday, February 9, 2009

"Missed me..." (No, that was a direct hit)

If the world could throw a collective shoe at any one man on Earth, it would be George W. Bush as he walks out the door. Funny how the world works: When one man has the guts to do what the world would, that man is thrown in jail.

As Bush...has a bigger child ever wandered the White House? His response to the "shoe-throwing" was a childlike - not the ducking; the ducking is instinctual. Any creature on Earth, seeing an object fly toward its head will duck. We learned that playing dodge ball, if nowhere else. No, it is the insipid smile as he ducks like a child who, once out of immediate danger, taunts his assailants: "You missed me...missed me again."

Later, Bush compared the "shoe-throwing" to getting "the finger." No, Mr. Bush - even in America, getting a shoe thrown at you is worse than getting "the finger." In Iraq, showing a person the bottom of your shoe is an insult; throwing the shoe is akin to someone spitting in your face, only worse. and then, he called you "a dog." The only thing worse than being called a "dog" in Iraq is being called a "shoe."

Now, Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the man who threw the shoe at our president, is a celebrity, if not a hero. and try as the Bush administration might to spin this as "simply one Iraqi trying to get attention," it will not work.

This "one" Iraqi had access to our president for a reason: He is skilled; he is trusted. al-Zeidi chose to use the window that skill and trust afforded him to show the world that millions of Iraqis truly thing of the self-proclaimed "liberator", George Bush. As he threw his shoes at Bush, he cried out, "This is a gift from the the Iraqi people; this is a farewell gift, you dog!"

Today, al-Zeidi is cooling his heels in an Iraqi jail cell. He has apologized to Nouri al-Maliki, the president of Iraq, (but not to Bush). It doesn't matter. The die has been cast - it is not about al-Zeidi anymore; it is about what happened to an American president. Long after the players are gone and the stage has turned to dust, al-Zeidi's shoes will be flying, and Bush will be forever ducking. A more fitting finale to Bush's Iraq policy could not be drawn in fiction.

Still, Bush's childlike inability to realize how deeply he has been insulted troubles us. That was not a game show contestant dodging a shoe; that was our president. Never in the history of this country has a US president suffered such public dishonor. What an ignoble end.

And to America's everlasting chagrin, that moment will reverberate throughout the halls of history.

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