Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pardon Mr. Shoes! 

Lefty blogs are in a froth over rumors that Iraqis, or even Americans, are torturing Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi reporter who threw his shoes at President Bush the other day. That would be bad. I, for one, hope that nobody did anything worse than, say, the Chicago cops would have done circa 1968. That might sound shocking, but you have to be realistic about these things. Treatment even that humane represents a quantum leap for Iraq and most of the Arab world. Put differently, while it is a bit of a stretch even for George Bush to say that this was a victory for "democracy" as such, it is certainly a sign that Iraqis have greatly expanded their sense of personal freedom. If al Zaidi gets away with a couple of broken ribs and only a few months in the hoosegow, he will be far better off than if he had done the same thing in all but perhaps three or four of the roughly 40 other Arab countries.

Anyway, I agree with digby who writes that Bush should ask that the Iraqis pardon Mr. Shoes "as a Christian gesture of forgiveness." Yes, that's exactly what he should do.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Dec 16, 10:09:00 AM:

Why do the words "just desserts" come to mind?

Kill that little weasel, and teach a powerful lesson. Slowly or quickly--doesn't matter.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Dec 16, 10:12:00 AM:

"...Bush should ask that the Iraqis pardon Mr. Shoes "as a Christian gesture of forgiveness."

I agree.
There is a difference between our side and their side in this war, and the President has been too reluctant to press that point and all the MSM see is what they want to see.  

By Blogger May, at Tue Dec 16, 10:21:00 AM:

First of all, thank you for subscribing to my blog.

Secondly - about the shoes: The war would have been over as soon as the US and allies had sprayed aerosylized pig fat over the entire country of Iraq.

Would have rendered (no pun intended) the Iraqis helpless.

Glad you got your pressure canner.
My garden was a complete flop this year except for the catnip, so maybe this year will be different.

Very worried about genetically engineered seed. Have an entry on it there.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Dec 16, 10:31:00 AM:

Why does this incident raise questions....? Oh, well, she shoe chucker was a friend of Mookie Al Sadr, every Iraqis choice for Mr Nice Guy.

Here's a quiz: Would the media have preferred that either one or both shoes had hit the President...? If so, would they have preferred that the President had been injured...?If so, would they have preferred that the President had been fatally injured....?

I know the answers. Do you?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Dec 16, 10:39:00 AM:

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By Blogger Unknown, at Tue Dec 16, 10:53:00 AM:

I think president bush was gaining his fame at the end of his presidency.

President bush attacked in Iraq ignoring the permission of United Nations.

Though UN is one of the puppet of US. How could president Bush doing this to

Iraqi people? War is not a game. So he get his reward. I hope this will

remembered by president bush until his death.

By Blogger Neil Sinhababu, at Tue Dec 16, 12:12:00 PM:

Iraqis have greatly expanded their sense of personal freedom.

Well, it depends on what you want to do with that freedom, right? If you want to make pro-Sunni statements in the Shiite part of town, you're worse off than you were back in Saddam's days.

Certainly, there's more freedom to criticize the recognized leader of the country, but that's not the only metric for measuring the freedom of a society.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Tue Dec 16, 12:24:00 PM:

Neil, I have to say that your last comment was very cramped. That is like saying that if you want to wear a swastika, Germany is less free today than in 1943, or if you want to advocate white supremacy today's South Africa is less free than it was 20 years ago. Yes, I grant that it is more difficult in today's IRaq for an ethnic minority to act like it owns the place at the expense of the ethnic majority. So what?  

By Blogger Neil Sinhababu, at Tue Dec 16, 12:49:00 PM:

Oh, I don't mean "if you wanted to tell all the local Shiites that they'd look better without heads." Clearly that's not really useful to look at. I meant something that just identifies you as a proud Sunni.

I've been told that not so long ago in Ireland, there were Catholic neighborhoods that you wouldn't want to go into wearing orange, and Protestant neighborhoods that you wouldn't go into wearing green. I'm not sure what the Sunni/Shiite equivalent of dressing in green/orange would be, but that's more what I'm talking about.

In early 2007, lots of Sunnis were migrating out of majority-Shiite neighborhoods because of the threat of violence. I'd guess that these guys were feeling a little nervous about political speech that would identify themselves as Sunnis.  

By Blogger Neil Sinhababu, at Tue Dec 16, 01:01:00 PM:

Actually, probably better to put the point in terms of Sunnis moving out of Sunni neighborhoods of Shiite-majority cities.

But with respect to the speech issue, the point is just that there are big parts of the county where I wouldn't want to say anything identifying me as a Sunni, at risk of being tortured by Sadrists with electric drills.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Tue Dec 16, 10:33:00 PM:

They should follow the provisions of the written law, rather than the whims of crowds and apparatchiks.

*That* would be a victory for democracy.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Wed Dec 17, 03:16:00 AM:

Right, Sinbabalu, let's debate whether Iraq is better off *not* being under the iron grip of a bloodthirsty savage who murdered humdreds of thousands of people.  

By Blogger Neil Sinhababu, at Wed Dec 17, 07:39:00 AM:

Gary, it's not like killing off the dictator suddenly sets you up with democracy.

If you don't have broad popular support for a better successor regime, the guy with the second-highest number of guns (al-Sadr maybe) ends up being the next dictator. Or a bunch of thugs end up fighting it out over the country, which is basically the story of Iraq from '03 to the present. Let's hope things return to stability soon.

That's why I think Eastern Europe is probably our best model for how regime change should go in the Arab world. You need organic, internal regime change rather than outsiders creating a power vacuum.  

By Blogger Georg Felis, at Wed Dec 17, 12:03:00 PM:

It was exceeding difficult for organic, internal regime change to take place when the Dictator would go kill everybody in a whole area just because he thought one person opposed him.
Eastern Europe had an external force controlling the country to its detriment. Once that external force weakened, internal forces were able to break free. Now Iraq has an external force controlling it, while encouraging internal forces to grow, as we slowly back away and try not to jostle them.
To paraphrase, We have given them a Republic, if they can keep it. The new political system that runs Iraq may not be exactly what we wanted, but then again neither is Chicago.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Dec 17, 12:27:00 PM:

Wait, I'm confused by Firedogpond's appeal here. Isn't it supposed to be the height of arrogance, or cultural imperialism or something, for America to involve itself in the purely domestic affairs of another country?

Voltaire would say "Pardon the scum". And, then turn him over to the anti-Sadr mobs.  

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