Two-shoe salute for Bush at farewell visit

December 14, 2008

Not one but two shoes thrown at the president of the most powerful nation on earth! I will never forget those two or three seconds as those leather shoes — size 10s according to U.S.President George W. Bush — spun through the air, missing the president’s head by inches.

At news conferences in the Middle East, it is common for some less professional and obsequious journalists to leap up and sing the praises of a dignitary at the podium. But when Baghdadiya television journalist Muntather al-Zaidi lurched forward and threw the first shoe, I and everyone else in the room was stunned. There was silence, broken only by the shoe thrower calling Bush a dog. And then another shoe flew, and pandemonium broke loose.

Hitting someone with your shoes is possibly the worst insult in the Middle East. The second worst is probably calling someone a dog. Bush got both.

U.S. and Iraqi security men leapt at the journalist, who yelped and shouted as he was dragged into another room. Bush jokingly said the shoes were size 10s, and a visibly embarrassed Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said the shoe thrower was an immature man not worthy of respect.

But for many in Iraq, devastated by years of bloodshed following Bush’s decision to invade in 2003, and for others around the world annoyed by one of the least popular U.S. presidents, Zaidi may be seen as a hero.

Bush and Maliki resumed the news conference after the incident, and answered questions about a recent security pact hailed as a milestone in improving ties between the United States and Iraq — the shoe-thrower’s shouts from another room audible as they spoke.

Bush went on to describe Iraq as having taken an “important step on the road toward an Iraq that can sustain itself, govern itself and defend itself”.

At least one Iraqi on that road will have to walk barefoot for a while — if and when he is allowed to go free.

(Reuters photo: President Bush ducks as a shoe is thrown/Kevin Lamarque)


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I doubt that the Iraq men will ever be able to govern themselves…the cowards will just continue to blow up and murder each other

Posted by old ewok | Report as abusive

The “immature man not worthy of respect” was kidnapped for a week last year, blindfolded, and beaten unconscious.  /L19159708.htm

Posted by Jonathan | Report as abusive

Bush’s illegal war has cost a half million Iraqi lives.
Too bad the shoes didn’t connect.
Move on war crimes charges against Bush.

Posted by sidney bluestreet | Report as abusive

Where were you when a man threw his shoes at the American President? The world’s first universal hero. He may even come to symbolise the decline of American power. It took great courage to do what he did, physical courage because he might well have been shot, but, more importantly, moral courage to challenge the Emporer and see through his clothes. A historic event.

Posted by Peter Jones | Report as abusive

Bush has much worse things coming. Just wait until Vincent Bugliosi gets him in a court room.

Posted by Kyle Sullivan | Report as abusive

President Bush did a great thing, maybe in hindsight, for the people of Iraq. He liberated them from tyranny and dictatorship that was causing suffering and death for many people.

What you see now, is a reporter throwing shoes at an unpopular President. What you don’t see is how he even got the opportunity to throw the shoes in the first place and not get shot for it. If he threw shoes at former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, you can be sure that he will be shot as soon as he is dragged out of the building.

Posted by Maurice | Report as abusive

Republicans dodge shoes, Democrats dodge questions. I think the President was honored that an Iraqi reporter wanted to play Dodge Ball with the American President. Under the rules of Dodge Ball, the President could have caught the shoe and thrown it back. That would have been a great sight. Once the Iraqis master Dodge Ball, they can move on to Baseball. And sooner or later, they’ll be able to run their own country, and they’ll thank us all the more for it.

Too bad it did not contect but BUSH the dog must have surly been shaken up, Good job lad and good bless you for trying.

Posted by reza | Report as abusive

try that in Saddam’s Iraq

aint freedom sweet!

Posted by David | Report as abusive

So in return of introducing Irag to to the civilised word and way of life this is how you repay the man he should have done to all of you what saddam was doing killing pillaging and raping withount any accountability maybe then… or is it just because he’s christian?

Posted by Maged William | Report as abusive

Applause!!!! Iraq finally has a hero!!

Where can we send flowers/money to that guy! What guts!

Bush needs to climb in a hole and wait for someone to come dig him out (bets are on that no one will miss him).

Posted by American | Report as abusive

MSNBC said that the journalist who threw the shoes said that this is from teh orphans and the widows. In the Oct, 2006 issue of The Lancet, one of the world’s top medical journal, an excess of 655,000 Iraqis were killed above the usual mortality rate because of the US invasion. The US invaded even though not one American was killed by any Iraqi. And now there are over 5 million Iraqis who had to leave their homes. They cannot and should not return becasue it is extremely dangerous. But they should get adequate from the US occupiers who caused the danger to them and they are not getting the aid. What a Shame!!! Let us always remember the Iraqi orphans and widows.

Posted by Salam | Report as abusive

If he threw shoes at former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, you can be sure that he will be shot as soon as he is dragged out of the building.

- Posted by Maurice

For many muslims Abu Gharib was worse than being shot, what this man did took alot of courage, you can’t take that way from him.

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive

……”to be fair, the man has been a total heel.” (rim shot please)

Posted by outtie 5000 | Report as abusive

Size ten woulda been a perfect fit, for his mouth.

Posted by juanito da weirdo | Report as abusive

It’s a shame it took most of the Presidents two terms for him to start looking and sounding like a good President. A bit too little too late. Hopefully the next one is better, but I’m picking him as being Blair II.

Posted by Peter Hamill | Report as abusive

I’m sick to death of reading sactimonious comments by Americans and Bush apologists who still believe they did Iraq a big favour by devastating the country and killing Iraqis in their tens of thousands in an act of revenge for a few thousand American lives. The biggest act of cowardice of all was running a war which was all about securing oil for American control under the pretense of unearthing weapons of mass destruction which until today have not been unearthed. This man’s act is a symbol of all the seeds of anger and simmering resentment that this ridiculous war on terror will have planted in that region and could grow into new threats of terrorism that will continue to haunt all of us well into the future.

Posted by Scribe | Report as abusive

Where, exactly, is the freedom in being arrested?

Posted by David Bevan | Report as abusive

This is an Iraqi way of saluting a war criminal like Bush especially at a farewell visit. I very much hope next time the next Iraqi shoes will not miss their intended target or targets.

Posted by alazzawi29 | Report as abusive

The reportet just wanted Mr. Bush to get a sense of his sole. 1.stm

He hoped to leave an impression.

Posted by James Baloun | Report as abusive

Typical Bush.. in a perfect end to a perfect presidency, he’s too ignorant and ethnocentric to understand that he’s just been given the ‘honor’ of another culture’s two highest forms of insult. You can see his trademark smirk even as the first shoe flies. Idiot.

Posted by john | Report as abusive

A humiliating send off for the President of the United Sates.

Posted by Godfrey | Report as abusive

a waste of a perfectly good pair of shoes

Posted by zulfkar butt | Report as abusive

Norwegian entertainment! t_sko.html

This is the “throw a shoe on Bush” -game.

In the upper curve you adjust the angle.
In the lower curve you adjust the strength.
And if that wasn’t it, this guy has 3 shoes!

(When it pops yellow you have a hit, when it is red you must throw again)

Kast skoen = Throw the shoe
Kast igjen = Throw again

How history is rewritten and Americans brainwashed – we put Saddam into power in Iraq for own devious purposes. We are still there for the same purposes. Mainly to manipulate the world as we need for our corporate empire and selfish desires.

Posted by Jose Gomez | Report as abusive

He is a hero in my books. Someone finally found the courage to do what the rest of the world has been wanting to do for the past 8yrs. To bad he missed both times, I wish that he had at least succeeded once. I would like to thank him for the courage.

Posted by Mimi | Report as abusive

The photos of al-Zaidi kiss of the shoe are as good as those of the Chinese guy who stopped the tanks on the way to Tiananmen.
Its a pity the Americans can’t tar and feather Bush and tie him to a railroad car full of pigs to run him out of town.
To bring such hatred and then such humiliation on a nation …

Posted by Survivor? | Report as abusive

NOTE: Speaking of shoes and the White House, Skip Mendler of Honesdale, PA has a great idea. He suggests that everyone who is disgusted with the outgoing Bush/Cheney administration send a shoe to the White House. Just imagine a pile up of a million smelly old running shoes in the White House mailroom! I think he’s got something. Spread the word!

Posted by lea | Report as abusive

The journalist who threw shoes at Bush was tortured to the extent that his ribs and arm were broken. ” War on Terror ” or ” War of Terror”?

Posted by imran | Report as abusive

Bush and imperialism are so bad in the world, it’s an answer against crimes.

Posted by Clear | Report as abusive