Monday, December 15, 2008

How have you forgotten?

Alright, so if you haven't seen it already, here's the video:

Some thoughts:

1) Bush has some decent reflexes, I'll give him that.

2) Stop asking where the Secret Service was. This was not a national security threat. It was a dude throwing a loafer. More than that, we know where the USSS was: in the room. You know why the USSS didn't leap in to action? Because everyone in the room had already been wanded, frisked, and IDed. Nobody was able to bring a gun, explosive, or blade in to that room. So the USSS didn't anticipate a fearsome shoe attack. Big deal.

3) This is the dumbest thing I've ever seen Tom Schaller write, unfortunately.
Look: Bush has wreaked havoc on Iraq. Death, dismemberment, disfiguring, displacement and political disarray are all part of his tragic legacy. Al-Zaidi has many legitimate reasons to be angry.

But his actions and the subsequent lionizing of him are not helpful. If anything, the incident created sympathy for Bush (myself included, yes), who is on his way out the door and doesn't deserve it -- all so that one television journalist, acting unprofessionally, can draw attention to himself. And don't say he did it to draw attention to the plight of Iraqi widows and orphans. Americans, and the world, know what's going on in Iraq, even if some prefer to ignore it.
In a similar vein, this level of obtuseness in the NYT:
Maythem al-Zaidi said his brother had not planned to throw his shoes prior to Sunday. “He was provoked when Mr. Bush said [during the news conference] this is his farewell gift to the Iraqi people,” he said. A colleague of Muntader al-Zaidi’s at al-Baghdadiya satellite channel, however, said the correspondent had been “planning for this from a long time. He told me that his dream is to hit Bush with shoes,” said the man, who would not give his name.

Muntader al-Zaidi appears to have a long-standing dislike of the United States presence in Iraq. He used to finish his reports by saying he was in “the occupied Baghdad.” His brother said that he hates the occupation so strongly that he canceled his wedding, saying: “I will marry when the occupation is over.”
Did the NYT truly think that their audience needed to be told that some Iraqis are still upset over that whole "wrongfully invaded your country" business?

Some people seem to truly not grasp that George W. Bush's imminent departure from power, at his leisure and not being chased by either whips or warrants, is the most offensive end to this tale possible. George W. Bush is a war criminal who is going to get away with it. Torture, wiretaps, suppression of dissent and the deaths of more than a million people -- all of it unpunished.

And I'm supposed to be confused, or even upset, that someone threw a shoe at him? Bush deserves a trial and a lengthy imprisonment, not my sympathy.

I'm confused and ashamed that anyone still needs to be reminded that yes, the Iraq War is an obscenity and yes, people all over the world are still horrified by it. I'm even more ashamed that the nominal leader of a "progressive" coalition in my country is a man who was one of the war's most prominent, even ardent supporters outside of the American government.

In case you were wondering, that's why I've been cranky for the last little while.


Chet Scoville said...

Did the NYT truly think that their audience needed to be told that some Iraqis are still upset over that whole "wrongfully invaded your country" business?

Unfortunately, some of their audience still don't get that.

spek said...

One of those inconvenient facts, I suppose, that Ignatieff should have known better, but instead, opportunistically, for his own benefit, academic, political, or whatever, chose to be an academic apologist for imperialism and all its appalling consequences. How is it that so many of us are able to so easily forget it? Is it, perhaps, that so many were complicit, like Ignatieff, and just went along with the flow? Personally, I'd much rather have a leader who is willing or able to stand against the worst kinds of moral failure.

Anonymous said...

I was going to post basically what Chet said - unfortunately there are a good number of people down here who saw that incident and said something to the effect of "what an ingrate." Somehow, the Iraqis should be grateful that we carpetbombed their country and turned them into a 3rd world nation between our sanctions and our war.

We are kind of a dumb nation. I don't fault the NYT for acknowledging that (though, admittedly, there are probably a good number of folks on the NYT staff who saw that tape and thought "what an ingrate" as well).