Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The shoes hurled round the world

George W. Bush greatly — and typically — “misunderestimates” the depth of contempt and hatred he has stirred in the Arab world.
When an Iraqi journalist hurled his shoes at the lame duck president, Bush dismissed the gesture as a way to get attention.

Typical smirking smugness.

In Iraqi culture, throwing your shoes at someone is the gravest form of insult. It’s like spitting in the president’s face, only moreso. The fact that Bush doesn’t get that speaks volumes.

Bush never understood what he was getting us into in Iraq and he still doesn’t. He will go to his grave unreflective and unenlightened.

The Arabs as a culture have a long memory. It will take decades to overcome the damage this president has done. Let us hope that never again will we be led into the mire by a president who considers stubborn, arrogant ignorance a virtue.

Jim Cornelius, Editor

P.S. You do have to hand it to Bush, though. His reactions were good. And I thought that Bill Clinton was the guy used to ducking things thrown at his head.


  1. GW will leave his office a rich man leaving our once great country in an intricut,mucky,murkey mess both here and abroad.The population who voted him in the last 2 terms should hang there heads in shame and take some accountability for what is happening in the world.If the full truth ever comes out on GW he will be sitting behind bars with his new striped suit on contemplating the evils he has released on the world.

  2. Pathetic post Jim. Do you ever wonder why you only get a reply or two from your writings ? It appears nobody really cares what you have to say and after this one I am finished as well.

  3. However, I do think it is fair to address the state sponsored killing of innocent people, perpetrated by Islamic fanatics. There has to be someone to answer for, and as much as I think this war was incompetently waged, I do believe it was a worthy engagement in the first place. And the surge is working. I hope Obama doesn't actually make it worse by negotiations with those who will only be satisfied with the complete eradication of our entire country from the face of the planet. Religious fanaticism, whether it be Islamic terrorists or Christian terrorists (e.g. abortion clinic bombers) must not be tolerated.

  4. Jim,

    You're the one who missed the boat entirely.

    If not for George W. Bush, that man would not have the freedom to throw his shoes.

    If that man had thrown his shoes at Saddam, he would have been imprisoned immediately; been made to watch all the female members in his family raped, tortured then killed in front of him; and all rest of his family would have been shot.

    Oh, and he happened to working for an anti-American newspaper based in Egypt. Not much different than the New York Times, I suspect.

    You think Bush is the cause of hatred in the Middle East? Al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center in 1993 when Clinton was President. They bombed our embassies all over the world when Clinton was President.

    It's time you woke up and figured it out. It didn't start with President Bush and it's not going to end with the election of Obama either.

    It's too bad your memory isn't as long as our enemies. That's why we are in this mess.

    Michael Preedin, Sisters

  5. Good thing Saddam is gone or that poor journalist would probably be hanging by now. By the way, Jim, how do you think Hussein would have reacted to this post by you, if he'd been the subject and not Bush? Ain't freedom grand?

  6. My point is that Bush fails to understand the depth of the anger in the Arab world, dismissing it as an attention-seeking ploy.

    No, Easy, I do not think that Bush is the cause of hatred in the Middle East. Arab mistrust of Western "liberators" goes back to the Arab Revolt during World War I, when their national aspirations were blandly and blatantly betrayed in the Sykes-Picot agreement. (It goes back even further than that, but World War I and the Arab revolt was a watershed).

    Read "A Peace To End All Peace" by David Fromkin for the best account.

    Bush didn't start it, but the actions of this Administration have deeply exacerbated a long history of what appears to Arab eyes as Western meddling and betrayal.

    Failure to take this seriously, failure to understand the culture in which our interests are enmeshed, is dangerous to the United States.

    Matt is correct that murderous Islamic fanatics have a lot to answer for and must be dealt with forcefully as a threat. That effort is not aided by a refusal to understand and address the grievances upon which their hatred feeds.

    As for Saddam, I concede the point that anyone who threw a shoe at him unleashed hell. But that was true also when he was our guy, the enemy of our enemy, when Donald Rumsfeld was sharing a laugh or two with him and we were covering for him over the gas attack on Halabja in the United Nations.

    And yes, Easy, Clinton blew it. He let three acts of war slide by. He owns a good part of this, too. That doesn't make it okay that Bush blew it, too.

    Jim Cornelius

  7. See Jim, I think you really don't understand it at all.

    You don't think President Bush understands their hatred just because he didn't overreact to a shoe-throwing incident? You obviously fail to see that President Bush thought long and hard about going to war in Iraq. He knew what he was doing, and Iraq is better for it. The U.S. is better for it. Who cares what Iran thinks: or Egypt, or Syria, or Saudi Arabia? They are harbringers of the terrorism that came from the area. They do not, and should not have a say about the liberation of Iraq.

    Iraw is the freest nation in the Middle East now. Yes, of course they are still a delicate and a fledgling democracy. All the more reason to still support them 100%.

    God Bless the troops and President Bush for helping Iraq become free. It's the type of long-term commitment that peaceful Arabs will remember for generations, and be thankful for.

  8. Having actually served in Iraq at the seniormost command staff in Kuwait during the build-up, then in Baghdad as a combatant, then again as a contractor for the then Coalition Provisional Authority charged with "rebuilding" the country -

    I concur with the editor's observations.

    The war in Iraq had nothing to do with the 9-11 attacks - this is today well documented in the public record in any number of excellent treatments of the subject.

    When we were ramping up for the ground war - the air war already long underway although denied by the Bush Administration - the vast majority of responsible war planners and fighters were aghast at the hubris the Bush Administration was guilty of in promoting a war unnecessary to have been fought and one that, as we today see, is prolonging the right war which was and remains in Afghanistan.

    The Iraqi journalist indeed expressed himself in the most direct of Arabic traditions. The man was calling attention to the calamity that has befallen Iraq and its people - not himself - something Bush didn't get then and still doesn't.

    As for Iraq being a bastion of "freedom" in the Middle East - actually Jordan is far more so as are the Gulf States such as Oman, Dubai, and even Saudi Arabia in many respects - Iraq has been a nation under siege for nearly two decades now - and is essentially crippled across the board and will remain so for many, many years to come.

    Don Hamilton, senior counsel to then AMB Bremmer, told me at the CPA just weeks before the "transition of authority" in the summer of 2004, that within five years of that date there would either be some form of an "Arab Democracy" in Iraq that would be a beacon of hope for the rest of the Middle East OR the United States will have "depleted its national treasury...wasted the Flower of Its Youth...and lost much of the world's respect as a nation of law and right actions".

    Iraq's "democracy" is by no means a beacon in the Middle East, much less elsewhere in the world, and Mr. Hamilton's prediction of what a Chicken Hawk in the Oval Office has brought down upon us as a nation certainly appears to be bearing bitter fruit.

  9. As a professional courtesy for Matt -

    The previous post was submitted by Greg Walker, United States Army Special Forces (Retired). Iraq 2002-2004

  10. Hey Easy, Have you considered a career with the Colbert Report or Saturday Night Live?

    Very well-thought-out comment (about as well as GW's invasion of Iraq)

    Heckufajob, Easy.

  11. Greg,

    Excellent post, very well reasoned and informative. And you addressed a specific point, rather than just calling Jim an idiot with no argument. I have a friend at work who is in the Navy (reserves) and he has a lot of very good information on various topics military in nature. I find his commentary better than any of the so-called "experts". Thanks for all you've done to defend the freedom, honor and integrity of our nation, in concert with (or in spite of) our government.