Blue Mass Group
Reality-based commentary on politics.
December 14, 2008 By Laurel 67 Comments
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That is shocking and very discomforting. I still have a pit in my stomach from watching that. I don’t like that at all.
is that the Secret Service was not doing its job. I loathe Bush, but that doesn’t mean I want to see our “security” forces respond so dismally. I had the same reaction when Reagan was shot at. But Bush has been a failure form start to finish, so somehow I’m not surprised that “security” under his auspices, even security of his person, is shoddy.
p>As for the act itself, good for the shoe thrower. At least one man found a way to protest beyond the “free speech zone”. This was not an act of violence, but a statement of anger and contempt. Touching someone with the sole of the shoe is a great insult in that culture, I’m told. So the act seems quite appropriate to me. Well actually, it seems rather mild, considering what Bush has done to Iraq.
p>The last public “shoeing” in Iraq I’m aware of was of the Saddam statue that the American forces made a big stage show of pulling down. Here you see people expressing their disgust for Saddam by placing the soles of their shoes on the state’s face. Bush has earned the same level of respect.
Maybe/maybe not, but that is unknown in frenzy of the moment.
p>I hope in the future I can laugh at the absurdity of it all, but as I watched the clip, I put myself into the moment of the eruption. This is such a bizarre disruption of the typically rigid and controlled public events with the President, it prompts disorientation and that secure feeling that you know what’s going to happen next disappears. For a brief, frenetic moment, anything is possible and you don’t know if the guy has gun, a bomb, or if he’s going to start lashing out to harm those around him. After the fact, it’s possible to contextualize the event and realize that an ordinary shoe is basically harmless, but that’s impossible as the event unfolds – and that was the mindset I was in when I watched it.
p>I clicked expecting see a silly shoe-throwing gesture, but what was shown was intense and caught me off guard. Add all that to the measured response by the secret service (how did the hell did that guy have a clear shot with the second shoe?) and it was an unpleasant first watch.
p>And yes, beyond everything in this incident that has to do with American security and an assault on the American president, it is discomforting to know that Iraqis have been pushed so far to the brink were journalists feel that acts like this are they only way their voices will be heard and that they are willing to risk their own security to make such statements.
that I can’t know whether the thrower meant this as a violent act or just an angry act of derision. Maybe it was both, maybe something else entirely.
p>I am happy that Bush’s tight control faltered at lest once. I’ve always thought the British have the right idea with the PM’s Q & A session. I think the public needs the vicarious catharsis of seeing the president or PM put on the spot and forced to defend their policies. But Bush has refused to respond to any public reaction whatsoever. His quip about the shoe being size 10 was, in my mind, the same brush off he gave to the ginormous anti-war protests. Something along the line of “That’s the freedom of expression right there.” with no comment on the substance of the expression. So I’m glad one lone man made him duck once in his 8 years of presidency. He has refused all honest discussion and been so absolutely controlling these 8 years that I find a shoe-throwing journalist cathartic, not scarry-unpredictable.
not a violent act. Last time I checked, the worst a thrown shoe could do was a little bruise. They’re so lightning fast that President Bush was able to dodge it! Let’s get a little perspective here, this was not an assassination attempt on the President. And the secret service did nothing wrong – they are not super humans…
I’m sure that everyone in the room at the time was like, Oh, it’s just a shoe! No big deal.
p>Yes, clearly it wasn’t an assassination attempt. That’s clear now. But it certainly echoed assassinations attempts in the past, and my point was in the moment no one knows how well or how badly this is going to end.
p>As for denying that this is a violent act – what video did you watch? I’m not trying to make this into a suicide bombing, but come on. Is there such a thing as a non-violent assault?
Really? Which world leader in the past 50 years has been purposely killed by a thrown shoe? You’re completely ignoring their culture.
p>I agree that it was a scary moment, but it did not ‘echo’ other assassination attempts. Now, I’m no expert on political assassinations, but they appear to have a commonality in that they are usually done with lethal weapons.
p>This was a political statement using a technique that is a common insult in Iraq – throwing shoes. To those who are ignorant of them, I’m sure it was scary and certainly it was meant to make a statement, but not one of violence (anger, sure, but no intent to physically harm).
p>With the way President Bush sections himself off from the rest of society, especially in places as dangerous and angry as Iraq, there’s not a whole lot of moments for big statements by Iraqi people. I dare say that’s probably the first one that’s made the US press – and, I imagine, it’ll prove to be a very effective one.
I’m choosing to view it through the lens of my own culture. Here in the USA, shit doesn’t get thrown at the President; it’s bizarre to see any world leader assaulted, from my POV. When I say echos other attempts, I’m not talking about all those times that shoes were thrown at world leaders, I think you know that.
I’m not “getting” the Austin Powers connection. (Also, the rate-the-comment button seems to be not working on this series of comments–is anyone else experiencing this problem here?)
This is such a bizarre disruption of the typically rigid and controlled public events with the President, it prompts disorientation and that secure feeling that you know what’s going to happen next disappears.
p>The same could be said for millions upon millions of Iraqis over this entire American/Iraq debacle – with one glaring exception: substitute the shoes for guns. Every day, someone who wants to live a normal life – go to the market, go to work, feed the family – faces ungodly amounts of stress, knowing that in any second they could be shot, blown up or kidnapped. We did that to Iraq. President Bush did that to Iraq.
p>I get that seeing the shoes thrown was a disturbing thing to see, but it was amazingly peaceful compared to what President Bush has done to that country. He is a monster and a war criminal and to think of him as anything but is either naive or blind.
Ryan, I know.
p>You’re reading way too much in to my comment. I’m not a right wing Bush apologist and nothing I’ve posted here denies any misery and destruction imposed upon the Iraqi people. It’s me, tblade! Remember me? I’m a crazy liberal, look: F-Bush. Impeach him. Try him for war crimes, etc, etc… I get that Bush is a horrible guy.
and usually we agree on pretty much everything…
p>but I just think the attempt to paint this as a bad thing on the Iraqis is a dangerous thing, especially in a country like America where one bad thing is so frequently viewed as just as bad as any other bad thing… Mark my words, we’ll have Limbaugh and Company spinning this as the Iraqis are violent, angry mobsters and throwing that shoe was just as bad as the 100,000 or more people we’ve gotten killed in that country since the invasion… when, in reality, that was a pretty gutsy example of civil disobedience. We need more of that in this country, not less.
I think the desire for this guy and the Iraqi people to want to lash out in physical and violent ways at Bush and many other Americans is quite valid. Hell, many Americans have felt the same way for years.
p>The first comments above were me describing my reaction to watching an unexpected scene, no judgment on the Iraqis. I wish I could have added this to my first comment, but it was aslo unnerving to me because I had no idea what was going to happen to the Iraqi jounalist. Was I about to watch the mob tear him apart or the secret service fire their weapons on the guy. Again, a silly thought after the fact, but not fully knowing what I was watching, all those Hollywood and documentary images I’ve seen over the years get refreshed and my imagination didn’t know what to expect.
p>We know now that it was just a shoe and no one was hurt, but a first, raw watch with no context was discomforting.
what’s the secret service supposed to do? Make reporters go to press conferences shoe-less? Bring in a leather detector? I don’t see how the secret service could have reacted much better. That said, amen to the rest of your post.
the second that show was in the air, a secret service body should have tackled bush and covered him. bush and maliki had better reflexes than the secret service. also, this just shows once again that the bush administration has learned NOTHING about this culture. this is apparently a common form of insult. they underestimated the press pool by not expecting it.
than shoes. i worry for obama’s safety.
Oh please. It most certainly is an act of violence. It may also be a statement of “anger and contempt,” but that doesn’t mean it didn’t induce temporary fear of physical harm and it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have caused physical harm if it hit the President.
p>It wasn’t an assassination attempt. It’s unlikely that it would have done significant damage if it hit Bush square in the nose or if a heel caught him in the eye. Thankfully Bush was able to duck the object — and avoid physical harm from the act of violence.
I can’t know whether the thrower meant this as a violent act or just an angry act of derision. Maybe it was both, maybe something else entirely.
But maybe you’re a better mind reader than I am. Can there be an expression of passion without violence? I guess there will be as many opinions on that question as there are people contemplating it.
Hmmm…your sex life just became more interesting…:~)
In that context the ellipsis is used as either a pause or hesitation in speech, or else as a thought that the writer does not express.
Sorry, wrong thead. I thought you were discussing the use of ellipses.
well, i’m glad you’re happier with it now, but i wonder what your synod thinks, not to mention your husband. maybe something to finally turn him on?
Yes, but the expression of violence cannot involve the launching of projectiles toward someone. Once you start with the projectiles, you’re no longer in the realm of non-violence.
This was not an act of violence, but a statement of anger and contempt.
p> – Laurel
it was a shoe not a violent act.
p> – Ryepower
should suffer so much as a bruise or a swollen lip in Iraq.
and I’m glad the shoe didn’t make contact with the deadly clown, for the sole reason (pun intended) as that would’ve likely led to longer prison time for the shoe-thrower.
Casting your shoes/footwear at someone is not an unusual custom in the middle east. It is not uncommon for asians, especialy Koreans, to engage in fisticuffs in parliment.
This journalist was only making a point. He didn’t care for Bush—-Bush got the message and said so.
This ugly event is a side-effect and a reminder of the tragedy that has befallen Iraq due to this invasion. The whole thing, beginning to end was sad and ugly.
President Bush unilaterally invaded a country, with no long-term plan to stabilize it afterward, allowed extremist forces to control a great deal of the country in the aftermath and has presided over the killing of 100,000s and the forced flight of millions.
p>He’s lucky it was only a shoe being thrown at him.
The US Congress continued funding of the War. Specifically, luminaries such as Hillary Clinton ( now Sec of State) and John Kerry.
p>Yes, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, the left and right wing think tanks in DC and many retired and active duty flag officers dropped the ball. They never bothered to enlist the advise of the folks who had to do the grunt work—-but that is very common of people who have all the answers but have never ever done any of the heavy lifting—-if you get my drift.
as an american, i don’t internalize this at all. this act is not an insult to america, but an insult to a man who deserves it.
p>if he gets what he really truly deserves, george w. bush will be in prison alongside dick cheney and don rumsfeld someday. so the random shoe or rotten tomato upside his head is really getting off pretty light.
President Obama will get the same reception or perhaps much worse next year when the worldwide food chain collapses. You can’t eat or drink oil.
cheer leading the possibility of a future insurrection against Obama.
this could be the final symbol and image people across the world will remember for Bush. This is his legacy.
You may or may not be correct.
any other choice?
p>(and, yes, I’ll be correct)
The journalist is a hero at home and admired by a lot of Americans and other non-Iraqis. Short of a major disaster leading to another “heck of a job Brownie!” moment, this will be the slamming door we all remember hitting Bush’s exiting ass.
Free Speech: If it praises democrats, then fine say all you want. I remember the “free speech” zones set up by the DNC the last 2 national conventions. I’m glad you folks conveniently forgot.
In the Worcester Telegram, I read on a daily basis “assualt with a deadly weapon, a shod foot”.
Have you ever seen the British House of Commons? More fights than a Bruins game.
it was an uninhabited shoe. bet you it wasn’t even steel-toed.
In Provincetown last year, an incident where a young straight man was throwing rocks at gay men while shouting anti-gay epithtets was ruled to be an exercise of freedom of expression. After all, the young man was giving creative expression to his deeply felt hostility to the scourge of homosexuality upon his town, and perhaps his Bible-based belief that sodomites should be stoned to death. By the standards of the Provincetown Police, the man throwing the shoes was simply commenting on the wretched mess Bush has made of his country, and using less lethal projectiles at that.
Already, the Iraqis have greater freedom. The freedom to huck shoes without having your feet chopped off.
p>And Ryan – you hindsight is 20/20. What if it had been a gas canister, a small grenade? NOW you can say ‘just a shoe’, but the response at the time was pretty poor. I will keep this incident in mind for the first time Obama gets hit with a pie in the face…and we have to listen to your anguish and assassination apprehension.
and more electricity and better security and fewer casualties, and thus would not have wanted to chuck shoes.
p>Iraq, unlike the U.S. Colonies or Switzerland under the foreign yoke or the English Parliament facing the King, showed no sign of a yearning for democracy whatever. Practicing religion? Yes. Prosperity? Yes. Democracy? No. I’m really tired of hearing this mindless Bushism from the party of the unrepentant responsible for this mess.
p>Reminder: The State Department spent some time and effort trying to think through the aftermath of the invasion and the Defense Department, which actually ran it, refused to even hire personnel from State, much less listen to them. This invasion was botched. Bush bears moral culpability for treating it so cavalierly.
Iraq, unlike the U.S. Colonies or Switzerland under the foreign yoke or the English Parliament facing the King, showed no sign of a yearning for democracy whatever. Practicing religion? Yes. Prosperity? Yes. Democracy? No.
p>A yearning for democracy was the ENTIRE reason that we had a revolution against England. If you study the reasons for the revolution in depth, you’ll notice that every time the colonists threw a shit-fit over this tax or that tax, Parliament nearly immediately folded and removed whatever tax we complained about. The one thing they would NEVER accede to was allowing Parliamentary representation of the colonies in England. The colonists were infuriated that the final authority over the colonies was in a Parliament they had no say in. The reason we went to war was so that we could HAVE that democracy that was continually denied to us for so many decades.
p>If you read Edmund Burke (and someone as obviously deep-thinking as you must have) he has revulsion over the fact we chose to have a Republic as our form of government rather than installing our own Constitutional Monarchy.
p>If the English Parliament had given us the Democracy we sought, i.e. 40-50 seats in Parliament, we may very well still be singing God Save the Queen today.
To use ellipses as they were intended:
Iraq, unlike the U.S. Colonies …, showed no sign of a yearning for democracy….
that Iran has had a long history going back to around 1900 of striving for some form of constitutionalism. One difference is that Iran (more or less) has been an actual country for millennia. Iraq was an invention of British colonialism after WWI. (The British planted a left-over king they had on its throne to the tune of “God Save the King” — there was no Iraqi national anthem at the time.)
Iraq, unlike the U.S. Colonies … , showed no sign of a yearning for democracy
p>Edited, because a ellipsis is defined in most if not all stylebooks, as three periods and two regular spaces.
p>Further, the ellipsis should not be used at the beginning or end of a direct quote.
Isn’t the following acceptable?
Iraq, unlike the U.S. Colonies … , showed no sign of a yearning for democracy … .
Potentially such truncations could change the meaning and the reader ought to be alerted:
p> For example, I always agree with Gary not!
p> … I always agree with Gary
p>I don’t like ellipses used to indicate pauses. They’re an intrusion of spoken English into written English. Looking at how everything is becoming multi-media, I expect that blogs will eventually turn into an exchange of videos featuring talking heads ranting at one another. So maybe I should enjoy written text while it lasts—ellipses and all.
The em dash is used to indicate the pause. Ellipsis indicates truncation.
That’s spelled — for you HTML-newbies.
You quoted. In other words, some guy said “Iraq, unlike the U.S. Colonies … , showed no sign of a yeaning for democracy dot dot dot
p>Did someone in fact say that?
p>AP Stylebook: never end or begin a quote with an elipsis.
It’s finals season and I’m a little fried and misread that. Gosh, I was like wtf, he’s not stupid, why would he say that? Haha.
Bush killed that possibility.
admit it. 😉
Yes, there have been positive aspects to the invasion. The removal of Hussein and Sons is clearly one of them. To the extent that KBusch et al. deny that this has been a benefit, they are simply wrong.
p>I don’t think they’re saying that though. They’re pointing out that, from the perspective of the guy trying to feed his family in Baghdad, this benefit is counterbalanced by five years of chaos and Hobbesian State of Nature.
p>But you must also admit that from that fellow’s perspective, the invasion has had its costs. It is hard to posit credibily that Operation Iraqi Freedom has been a net benefit, given the prolonged state of extreme insecurity, even if they have the newfound “freedom” to through shoes at the leader of the free world.
It is hard to posit credibily that Operation Iraqi Freedom has been a net benefit, given the prolonged state of extreme insecurity, even if they have the newfound “freedom” to through shoes at the leader of the free world.
p>Oh, I have no comment. I just thought that line was well worth repeating. I wish I had written it.
I’ve been noticing CMD’s writing lately. Also compare how much better written this other Peter Porcupine writes than the one that has an account on this blog.
Was the shoe filled with candy flowers? Maybe they just had trouble with the delivery mechanism.
p>On a side note, there is no reason anybody throwing things at two heads of government should get a second shot. Whoever was providing “security” at that conference needs to be reassigned.
and both were security inept. pathetic.
Here is a fascinating description of the day’s events from an American member of the press who was present for the shoeing.
What’s been done in Iraq in our name thoroughly sickens me, along with many other protracted activities of the Bush-Cheney reign. Obama’s election is just a tiny beginning to not feeling ashamed to be an American. Now we’ve all got to do what we can to help Obama Walk the Walk… for sure there’s many a mile to go on so many issues.
p>One thing each of us can do is to read this http://www.truthout.org/121808J (Has Obama Already Vetoed Single-Payer Health Care?)
and then take action here http://www.healthcare-now.org
and here http://www.healthcareforameric…
p>Please join others around the globe to advance primary health care as a recognized human right with The International People’s Health Movement. Anyone can endorse Their People’s Charter for Health (I have, as have many other nurses). The Charter is an organizing tool for global health care advocacy & activism that has a wonderful vibrant history. Learn more about it and endorse at this link — thanks!