Most of us know by now that, during his last trip to Iraq, President Bush had to duck a couple of times as a reporter threw his shoes at him during a press conference, which in the Arab world, is quite an insult. Actually, I was quite impressed with the president's quick reflexes. I hope that in another 15 years or so, my reflexes are that good.
What I have found somewhat distressing, though not surprising, is that certain American bloggers of the extreme leftist bent are quite pleased with the incident, and in fact, have found this reporter's behavior quite acceptable, if not profound. They apparently lack the maturity and integrity to realize that such an attack on the leader of any nation, even with shoes, is unacceptable and should not be tolerated among people who have an interest in a civilized world. It is amazing how illiberal liberalism can be.
I understand that these individuals are opposed to President Bush's policies. There are more than a few places where I have been quite disappointed with the president. But I do not find it remotely funny nor somehow just that someone would attempt to injure the President of the United States, whether it be George W. Bush or President-Elect Barack Obama. I find it infuriating when someone attempts to hurt my president, whether or not I voted for him, whether he is a Democrat or a Republican. Such behavior is unacceptable, and those who think otherwise need a time-out in the corner until they grow up.
There is bad news and good news in all of this. The bad news is that these bloggers disseminate their poisonous views publicly to the ten people who visit their blogs each day. The good news is that they hold no significant office. Thus, even though they think they have something important to say, they have no real influence.
Thanks be to God for that!
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Cross-Posted at RedBlueChristian
Remarkable! A reporter throws his shoes at President Bush and he lives! A few years ago in Iraq, under a different sort of executive leadership, any reporter who did such a thing would have been quickly escorted from the room and never seen again. Given what is now know, family members of that reporter would likely have faced severe repercussions. This is real "freedom of the press" That reporter was able to act with impunity. He was not shot for assaulting the President. He is not now in prison awaiting execution. His family is not in jeopardy. Yes, that is real freedom of the press. Such freedom is not the result of a U.N. resolution. It is the direct result of the successful preemptive military action led by President Bush that resulted in the disposition of a dictator and the institution of a freely elected democratic government. Yes, when it comes to shoes and freedom of the press, that reporter has a lot to be thankful for. And he along with a lot of other Iraqis owe President Bush a debt of thanks. For the freedom they today enjoy in directly the result of President Bush.
While I am glad that President Bush was not harmed, and am also impressed by his quick reflexes, I am also not surprised that this unfortunate incident happened. It is a reflection of a reality that is seldom reported in the US media: the deaths of 300,000 to 1 million Iraqi civilians that have occurred since the US invasion and occupation of their country. The shoe throwing incident was an act of desperation and outrage by a man who has been reporting on the devastation of his country and his people. He was venting his justified outrage against the man responsible for the unnecessary, unjustifiable, criminal invasion that has humiliated and and brought incredible suffering to his people.
I'm not saying that his actions were rational or correct. I am saying that we need to look at his actions from his context. Imaging being in his shoes. (no pun intended)
Of course, he will be treated better than under Saddam Hussein.
Yes, I quite agree with your comments. If the blogs I had read yesterday put the matter the way you did, instead of acting gleeful that someone threw his shoes at the president, regretting only that he did not get hit, I would not have felt compelled to post anything on the matter.
Thanks for your thoughtful comments.
There is something wrong when we can have a calm, rational discussion about the invasion of Iraq, and then get upset when someone throws his shoes at the man who ordered the invasion. When we are more offended by a pair of flying shoes than by the invasion of a nation and the killing of 300,000 people -- something is out of whack.
I wonder if we could understand the shoe throwing incident as an act of prophetic protest. Isaiah walked naked and barefoot through the streets of Jerusalem for three years. Jeremiah shatters a clay jug and wears a wooden yoke on his neck in order to symbolize that Jerusalem and Judah are to wear the yoke of Babylon and not join a military alliance. Ezekiel lay on his left side for 390 days and on his right side 40 days to symbolize the number of years that Judah would spend in exile. Jesus cleansed the Temple and overturned the money-changing tables. I wonder if the shoe-throwing incident could be interpreted in this sort of symbolic context?
Thanks for your thoughts.
Actually, I was less interested in the shoe throwing and more concerned with the gleeful response from some extreme lefty bloggers.
I have no problem with the notion of prophetic protest, but whose prophetic word are we going to take? If what this man did to the current president is deemed as an acceptable prophetic witness, would it be acceptable to throw shoes at President Obama after he signs the Freedom of Choice act? Will people be more outraged if shoes are thrown at the new president than with the truth that each year unborn children have their lives taken from them?
Which prophetic issue and whose prophetic word do you want?
Every time I hear someone utter that tired phrase, speaking truth to power," I always say in response, "Whose truth to which power?"
The truth of the matter is that Christians cannot agree on the War in Iraq, neither can we agree on abortion. I know where you stand on both issues, and I am with you, but more than a few Christians are "pro-choice" but opposed to the War in Iraq, and others are "pro-life" but favor the war. Whose truth to which power? You speak of the calm and rational discussion over the invasion of Iraq. What about the calm and rational discussion we have over abortion? The problem is that our outrage is selective.
I also think if we find such acts as throwing shoes to be prophetic and, therefore, acceptable, we will also open the door to shoes and chairs and what-not being thrown at a leader on a regular basis, everytime someone is angry about something. Is that what we really want? Do Christians want to embrace an act as prophetic that can physically injure someone? Aren't there other ways to act prophetically short of violence?
Just some further thoughts. Thanks for yours!
Perhaps the most glaring shortcoming of the US media is its failure to do any significant reporting on the numbers of people executed under Saddam as well as it's failure to give any significant attention to the successful progress of military and political operations to allow Iraq to stand as a free democratic nation. That this man has the freedom to even express his opinion is the direct consequence of the invasion, the resultant overthrow of a illegitimate dictatorial regime and the institution of western democratic government. The U.S. invasion of Iraq was in no legitimate sense a crime. It was an act made necessary by the failure of the UN to act dynamically and forcefully in the face of repeated criminal outrages perpetrated by Saddam as well as his obstinate refusal to comply with numerous U.N. resolutions. The real crime is that the nations of this world stood by and did nothing while Saddam conducted atrocities against individuals and family groups as well as employing WMD's against completely defenseless civilian people groups whose only crime was that they did not support his regime. His squandering of Iraq's wealth and his brutal repression of human rights devastated Iraq and left it a broken shell of a nation. Hopefully under a freely elected democratic government Iraq will be able to rebuild itself into a modern nation state where such criminals as Saddam will have no place. And hopefully the U.N. will in the future act effectively so as to make a similar exercise of unilateral military force unnecessary.
I agree with you on two points: First, the UN is basically inept in reference to its ability to enforce any kind of foreign policy. Second, the media was neglectful in reporting in any kind of detail, Saddam's horrendous tyranny.
Having said that, I have two further thoughts: The first is to echo Steven M's comments that there are also other parts of the Iraq situation that have been neglected by the media. The second has to do overthrowing tyrannical government. While I wish all tyrannies would disappear from the face of the earth, is it our place to overthrow them and impose democracy? If we go that route, we need to act militarily in Darfur. By what criteria do we decide to topple this dictatorship, but not that one, halt one slaughter, but not another?
Too many still seem to think that the best way to spread freedom is by force. I cannot help but wonder if that creates more problems for a longer period of time, than it solves.
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