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December 22, 2008

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Kicking and punching; beating all over the body with chains; cigarettes extinguisned behind his ears; stripped of his clothes and doused in cold water; subjected to electric shocks. The torture lasted for 30 hours. Uday said he say the evidence of that in the form of bruises, swellings and cuts all over his brother's body.

But, gosh, people shouldn't throw shoes! Especially not at King George.

I wish I thought everyone who asserted the wrongness of shoethrowing is thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

As for the rest: welcome to the new Iraq, same as the old Iraq. The torture never stopped.

we're teaching Iraq everything we know

Saddam's torture chambers are closed:

Exactly, I mean, Saddam is dead, how could he be operating torture chambers?

The guy threw a shoe at Bush; therefore, he must be a liar.

It wasn't torture. Just frat house games.

This is just another example of the liberal media over-reporting the bad news. After all, if we hadn't liberated Iraq, torture stories would have never gotten in to the press.

we're teaching Iraq everything we know

Like they didn't know it already. Let's face it, torture has been part of Iraqi politics for a long, long, time. It's not like the rulers from the Turks to the Caliphs down to the Sumerian Lugals were great respecters of the rights of their prisoners.

I absolutely deplore the treatment, but I was sure this guy was going to get it if for no other reason than he made it personal for Maliki by embarrassing him in his role as host. It would be embarrassing for any leader, but in a society where hospitality and the obligations of the host/guest relationship are still strong, it is going to be even worse.

What bothers me is that I haven't seen Bush make a public statement calling for his release. I find that petty in the extreme. A shoe is harmless and there is no cause for wanting this guy to be jailed. Its par for the course with him though.

angulimala, Bush stood there and watched without a word to say as the man was beaten till he screamed.

And on this blog, Hilzoy - not an ardent Bush supporter - wrote a post criticizing... throwing shoes.

Bush is responsible for having hundreds of people imprisoned and tortured, without ever caring if they were guilty of anything meriting imprisonment. In this case, Muntadar al-Zaidi is actually guilty of what is, evidently, considered a serious offense even by liberal/Democratic Americans; he threw his shoes at Bush. Why would Bush see any need to ask for clemency? After all, it appears that to most Americans, Bush is the victim in this...

Last Friday's news:

[...] On Thursday, Dana M. Perino, the White House press secretary, said President Bush had urged the Iraqis “not to overreact, because he was not bothered by the incident, although it’s not appropriate for people to throw shoes at a press conference, at any leader.”
Full transcript.

In this case, Muntadar al-Zaidi is actually guilty of what is, evidently, considered a serious offense even by liberal/Democratic Americans

Can you provide a link or cite of liberal Americans calling this a "serious offense"? I mean, criticizing throwing shoes does not mean that one considers throwing shoes to be a serious offense.

Why would Bush see any need to ask for clemency? After all, it appears that to most Americans, Bush is the victim in this...

Do you have cites to data backing up that statement re: most Americans?

No, Eric, i don't have polling data stats. But when Hilzoy published her post criticizing the shoe-thrower, I saw a remarkable number of ObWing regulars agreeing with her post focussing on the wrong of Muntadar al-Zaidi throwing shoes, without a word to say against him being beaten, at the press conference, in front of Bush, while Bush failed then to say a word to prevent it.

So the wrong was throwing shoes. Not having a man beaten till he screamed.

ObWing regulars agreeing with her post focussing on the wrong of Muntadar al-Zaidi throwing shoes, without a word to say against him being beaten, at the press conference, in front of Bush, while Bush failed then to say a word to prevent it.

Maybe thats because most of us know that goes without saying and most of us know that most of us know that as well.

If that makes any sense :).

Extrapolating from "a remarkable number of ObWing regulars" to "most Americans" is, I think . . . what's UK English for "statistically dubious?"

Maybe Maliki should hire Eric to blog for him. With "H" in office here in High Lib Land, "M" will probably take the hit for a lack of "W".

What angulimala said.

Jes, please pay attention to the serious gaps in logic in your argument. If someone on the right made such inferences going in a different direction, you'd be screaming bloody murder (and so would I). And we would be justified in doing so.

Please also mind the leaps that you take in order to paint any nuance in thought as extreme malice. Merely commenting on the inappropriateness of throwing shoes as a form of protest does NOT in any way equate to:

1. Labeling shoe throwing a "serious offense"; or

2. Arguing that Bush is more of the victim, and that having a shoe thrown in one's direction is worse than being beaten and tortured.

It's better for the conversation here at ObWi - for the free exchange of ideas - if people are allowed to express thoughts and not have each one put through the sausage grinder until they fit one of two worldviews. Especially when you add all types of ingredients that were not in the original.

Adding: In Bush's defense, I'm sure he was pretty stunned at the time, and was not sure what was going on in the melee with Zaidi - if Zaidi had a weapon or was otherwise a threat. It would have been inappropriate, actually, if Bush had ordered security to stop given that Bush had no way of knowing the situation.

However, he should make a plea for clemency after the fact. But, as Gary noted, he appears to have done so already. I would prefer something more forceful and public, however.

Phil, it wasn't actually just ObWing regulars, it was a number of other posts and comments around the web focussing on the wrong that Muntadar al-Zaidi had supposedly done in throwing shoes, while ignoring his being beaten up at the press conference. Hilzoy's was just one of several, though Hilzoy's was the most disappointing. But yeah; it is statistically dubious.

Just in case anyone was struggling to recall precisely what Hilzoy said, it was this

Personally, I don't like people throwing shoes at anyone. For some reason, I found myself wondering what kind of shoes they were: a pair of rubber flip-flops wouldn't do much damage; steel-toed Doc Martens would be a different story. Insofar as I could see anything about these particular shoes, a lot would seem to depend on whether or not they had wooden heels.

That said, I also wondered whether Bush would have had any sense at all of how angry a lot of Iraqis are had this not happened. I'm not saying that that makes it OK; just wondering.

Whether that is Hilzoy focussing on the wrong of shoe throwing, MMV, I suppose.

A prominent liberal American calling shoe-throwing a serious offense

Apologies if this appears twice, but I just tried posting and I don't think it went through.

Eric asked for an example of a liberal American who called shoe-throwing a serious offense. Rick Perlstein said he thinks the shoe-tosser should go to prison for a long time, so that ought to qualify.

LINK

Apparently the make of shoe which was flung at Bush has become the hot holiday gift for this year: Turkish company sees sales of 'Bush' shoe skyrocket, from 40,000 last year to 370,0000 this year

A Commerce Dept. spokeperson denied the rumor that a giant catapult was being constructed in Detroit for the purpose of flinging a Chevy Tahoe at the White House, in the hope of achieving similar sales results.

Thanks DJ.

Rick Perlstein is wrong, IMHO. Further, I see no evidence that he represents the majority of liberal Americans on this topic.

In fact, his statement comes in the context of complaining about actions of big liberal groups that seem to endorse the shoe throwing protest.

But I'm open to data proving that most liberal Americans feel that Bush is more of a victim than Zaidi.

Still, in defense of the US, apparently quite a few Americans (among many others) are enjoying this website.

Scroll down and you'll see the US at the top of the list in Bush-smacking scores. Kind of makes me believe there's a bit of truth to American exceptionalism after all. USA,USA, oh, nevermind.

My best score is a rather pathetic "6", but I think it's partly my mouse--the darn thing seems to stick. I have trouble believing the high scores of the leaders (35??) though.

Eric--I think you're right. My suspicion (no poll data, just a feeling with the previously linked website to back me up) is that most red-blooded (or blue-blooded or whatever) Bush-disliking Americans probably don't mind a shoe or two tossed at Bush, or if they don't quite endorse it, they don't get into Rick Perlstein's hysterical frame of mind (gotta send him to jail to prevent the rise of fascism or anarchism or both or worse, having liberal Americans linked to such ideas.) I think Rick is having a 60's flashback and thinks that if too many lefties are seen laughing at this act of footwear-tossing, it'll drive Middle America straight into the arms of Nixon. Anyway, his comment was disgusting, IMO.

I think Rick is having a 60's flashback

I think it's more likely that Perlstein's monarchist bent is acting up again and he's appalled that anyone wouldn't show a leader/king/alpha male the deference he's deserved. Too many liberals (in fact, too many Americans in general) seem to think political leaders are due some kind of respect purely on the basis of their position, rather than on the merits. I'd call it un-American, but I'm afraid that it's all too American.

And FWIW, when you live in a country where blowing up people's cars and shooting each other has become a typical response to frustrations, I heartily endorse the idea of throwing shoes at people you have a problem with instead. But I wouldn't endorse doing it in the US (here we throw lawyers instead of shoes).

"I think it's more likely that Perlstein's monarchist bent is acting up again and he's appalled that anyone wouldn't show a leader/king/alpha male the deference he's deserved."

Huh?

Love him? Hate him? How do YOU feel about our soon to be former President? Take part in a chance to immortalize your views in book form by visiting http://goodbyegeorgew.com/ and letting your opinion be read!

But I wouldn't endorse doing it in the US (here we throw lawyers instead of shoes)

You see, we are more barbaric.

Kyle brings the potted meat!

Yeah, I let Kyle pass the first time, several days back, since he included a longer comment (still not actually relevant) but this is getting ridiculous.

here's a nice response to Perlstein

the wrong that Muntadar al-Zaidi had supposedly done in throwing shoes, while ignoring his being beaten up at the press conference.

Where do you get the notion that he was "beaten" AT the press conference?

I feel bad for this guy, but this has little to do with Bush. This guy seriously embarrassed Maliki. He made it personal.

"Love him? Hate him? How do YOU feel about our soon to be former President? Take part in a chance to immortalize your views in book form by visiting [URL] and letting your opinion be read!"

I feel that you've already been here with your ad for the site where you're selling stuff, and you're not posting this as part of a discussion, and that therefore this constitutes s p a m.

Yeah Kyle. No more please. Other substantive comments, as you've made in the past, are welcome. Thanks.

Selling the genuine shoes could be difficult. From what I read, they were taken apart to look for hidden explosives.

Eric -

Some issues/comments regarding your post:

1. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Iraqi PSD kicked the crap out of the shoe thrower. Happening outside of specifically apprehending/subduing him, this should be decried as unacceptable. (Bush failed to show leadership on this issue, IMO, by saying little about the man's fate in deference to sovereignty)

But a beating may have a slightly different connotation than "torturing him for a confession." It is best as a matter of policy not to take the testimony of the guy's brother at face value until more definitive assessment comes out.

The regional tendency towards mistreating suspects is perhaps only eclipsed by a tendency to exaggerate in testimony. One always needs to conduct a lot of due diligence to confidently get the real story, trust me.

2. Pessimism about Maliki's raid on the MOI Baathist suspects is warranted, but note that they may apparently be released after a public outcry.

While many take this incident as proof that "those crazy Arabs" can't have an open, democratic society, an alternate take is that these are the type of fits and starts that Iraqis will go through during a delicate transition to open government. (with alternate possible outcomes, to be clear)

And given that the MOI was a militia-run cesspool 2 years ago, and Sadrists were running active death squads out of the Ministry of Health during the same period, it's progress, of a sort.

I'm not sanguine about Iraq's prospects for democracy resembling what we know it as, but I think it's definitely possible. Despite massive corruption and cultural violence, I've met enough Iraqis of good character and intent to think something workable and just (by regional standards) will emerge, given time.

2009 elections will reveal a lot about where Iraq is headed.

BTW - I recommend the following two links regarding Iraqi politics:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/22/AR2008122201850.html

http://www.cfr.org/publication/17929/iraq.html?breadcrumb=%2Fissue%2F24%2Fdefensehomeland_security

Where do you get the notion that he was "beaten" AT the press conference?

There's a fine line between "beaten" and "enthusiastically subdued, with screaming".

ThatLeftTurn: A Commerce Dept. spokeperson denied the rumor that a giant catapult was being constructed in Detroit for the purpose of flinging a Chevy Tahoe at the White House, in the hope of achieving similar sales results.

{LOL!} Thanks, TLT, that made my Festivus!

Let's hope that the spirit of the holiday moves President Bush to make a public call for Zaidi's release.

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