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Is A Shoe A Violent Attack?

Congratulations to Muntadar al-Zaidi for seizing the moment, making the most memorable statement of any journalist at any press conference held by George W. Bush ever. “This is a farewell kiss, you dog. This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq,” he said, as he took off his shoes and threw them at the U.S. President before being wrestled to the floor.

The BBC is describing him as a “Bush shoe attacker”, but the journalist’s statement was delivered in a kind of symbolic violence, something akin to throwing a tomato. The possibility of some minor bruising exists, but that isn’t the point. The point is to send a message that cannot be ignored to someone who has placed himself beyond the reach of criticism.

Right now, Muntadar al-Zaidi is being interrogated, by law enforcement officials seeking to discover whether he was part of a larger shoe-throwing conspiracy. They’re inadvertently helping to expand the protest’s significance.

Muntadar al-Zaidi was right to place his act in context. The shoe attack is being condemned as a terrible act, but how many of those who have talked about the grave irresponsibility of throwing a shoe at the President praised the bombing of Iraq and urged stronger attacks in Iraqi civilian neighborhoods?

18 thoughts on “Is A Shoe A Violent Attack?”

  1. Ace Frehley says:

    How ironic he throws a shoe in protest at the man who gave him the opportunity to do so without being immediately executed. I guaran-damn-tee you he would never have had the balls to throw a shoe at Saddam.

    1. Laura says:

      How is that ironic? So now just because he has the ability to voice dissent, he shouldn’t do so because he’s so grateful? That’s some pretty warped logic.

      1. Horatio says:

        Yeah, and he ought to be thankful that, instead of being immediately executed, he merely had his bones broken, and beaten up during interrogations. Where is the gratitude?

  2. Voltaire says:

    I think that Mr. Bush, in a gesture of reciprocity should put a size 10 1/2 up Muntadar al-Zaidi’s Butt. Same thing just better aiming!

    Even my children know we don’t throw things at people, unless we want it thrown back!

  3. Jim says:

    You mean things like bombs and bullets?

  4. J. Clifford says:

    Reciprocity? Reciprocity is not throwing two shoes in return for tons and tons of bombs and bullets. Voltaire, you don’t understand the first thing about reciprocity.

    If Bush were to follow this protest’s version of reciprocity, he would tickle Muntadar al-Zaidi with a feather for a second and call him a silly boy. Instead, Muntadar al-Zaidi got pounded by security guards, thrown into prison and “interrogated”.

  5. Voltaire says:

    Yeah J. that’s what happens when you throw things at the President. The Secret Service has No sense of humor. I’ve had them look down their rifle scope at my heart when I walked too close to Ronnie’s intended route, and he hadn’t even arrived yet.Imagine the idiot that bragged obout bringing a gun into scare the President. I think he disappeared for weeks.

    And you are apparently naive enough to believe that war is unnecessary! We should all just get along, if only we were all nice, if only everyone had enough money there would be no more crime, if only…. Good luck with that!

    1. Jim says:

      Voltaire, you seem inclined to give an American president the benefit of the doubt but inclined to give others no benefit of the doubt. That’s an interesting inclination. I had originally meant to write “unusually inclined,” but I think your inclination is actually pretty common.

  6. Ralph says:

    Curiously bad philosophy, Voltaire.

    Are you “naive enough to believe that war is unnecessary?”

    Gosh Voltaire. Which war?

    Why, none in particular. Just, y’know, “war.”

    Might we want to take a moment to ask which wars might or might not be necessary, to whom, for what reasons?

    Why, not at all. Let’s just jump the gun and call people “naive.”

    Empty rhetoric, Voltaire.

  7. Horatio says:

    Oops. Confronted with rational discussion, Voltaire gets suddenly silent.

  8. Voltaire says:

    Gone for awhile but never silent.

    A broken arm and ribs is what happens when you are thrown to the floor and dog piled by Testosterone fueled Secret Service agents.
    Their job is to protect the President. They are not going to wait and see if the “attacker” has motivated by a desire to engage in a form of “tomato” throwing.

    I am not interested in whether this guys opinion has merit or not. That is besides the point. My point is he was either stupid or idealistic enough to believe that there won’t be consequences for this action.
    Try this little experiment for me, those of you are reality challenged:

    Drive your car to the LA Police Department @ 150 N Los Angeles St # 140, Los Angeles, with your “press” badge on, wait for Tom Bratton to give a press conference, start yelling about past Police brutality, then reach down and pull off your shoe…….

    1. Jim says:

      I can pretty much guarantee you I won’t have a broken arm and ribs with internal bleeding generated from a beating after I’m already in custody.

  9. Voltaire says:

    All war is Bad! The question I have for you Ralph is what war do you see as justifiable?

    Horatio, was that a statement or a premature exclamation?

    1. Ralph says:

      The comment to which I was responding was “you are apparently naive enough to believe that war is unnecessary!”

      I pointed out that your original comment was an example of slovenly philosophy precisely because failed to ask which wars are necessary to whom for what reason.

      Now you respond by asking “What war do you see as justifiable?” I’ll charitably ignore for the moment the fact that “necessary” and “justifiable” do not mean exactly the same thing and are still decontextualized (Justifiable by who? Necessary to who, for what outcome?). To take this as a valid and serious question, you would have to retract your implicit statement that to believe war to be unnecessary, one must be naive. If you stand by your implicit statement, you are not posing this question in good faith. Which is it, Voltaire?

  10. Voltaire says:

    so you think that he was tortured while in custody, and they were just so incompetent that they couldn’t make it invisible? Seems funny to me, because I am sure that I could torture someone to the point of death, and not leave a single mark.

    So they are incompetent? Or is there something else here, just possibly?

    Sometimes our political agenda blinds us. Me on the other hand, I don’t know what’s going on, so I question it allllll.

    1. Jim says:

      Boy, you sure are tough. And a good poser of leading questions, to boot.

  11. Bilal says:

    If invading Iraq can be dismissed as ‘war’ then I guess the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were a mere trifle, not worth a footnote anywhere. The whole 9-11 industry and War On Terror marketing propaganda exercise should also be contemptously dismissed for what they are.

    Be grateful that it was a shoe, and al-Zaidi missed (more’s the pity). Retaliation would be for Bush to get what Saddam got.

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