Wednesday, Dec 17, 2008
It’s more than coincidence that as US Troops pulled down a statue of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraqi onlookers tossed shoes at it. Just as an Iraqi reporter threw his shoes at George Bush last Sunday during a press conference called by the president and the Iraqi prime minister’s office to mark the signing of a “security agreement,” whose security I’m not quite sure of.
What the two events obviously have in common is that in Arab culture, throwing shoes is a grave show of disrespect. For Hussein, it was obviously for his years of murder, torture, bullying, and stealing from the Iraqi people. For Bush, it was obviously for years of murder, torture, bullying and stealing from the Iraqi people.
The first pitched shoe to Bush brought with it the epitaph, “This is a farewell kiss, you dog,” assuming he was leaving office on January 20, and the second the reminder, “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq,” among them now nearly 5,000 American soldiers along with a million Iraqis.
The pitching scenarios beg comparison given the decades-long debacle of Hussein and the six years of Bush’s shock and awe. Bush’s “Shock & Awe” carries a price tag ranging from $575 billion to $2 trillion for the US, the latter including payouts for the US military wounded, their begrudged medical care, PTSD and other counseling, artificial limbs and the like.
This is not to mention the price tag for the destruction of Iraq’s infrastructure, the flight of many of its professionals, particularly the medical personnel to safety, plus the pollution of its air, water and earth, thanks to the use of depleted uranium, which have also had a similar effects on the attackers as well as those they attacked, whether they know it yet or not.
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This is not to mention the destruction and theft of Iraqi art, antiquities, schools, flora and fauna, ecosystem, agriculture, and the continued theft of its oil, the profits of the remaining oil kept by Iraqis demanded by many Americans to pay for our illegal, preemptive war against Iraq to aid our failing economy.
Ah, if only Bush had received the proper intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not, I repeat did not have weapons of mass destruction, chemical or biological weapons, a fact agreed upon by UN inspectors and UN Atomic Energy Commission members, and insisted upon by Iraqi officials in the runup to the war. Perhaps it was just a typo, the difference between “did” and “did not” that the White House had made in retyping, copying, faxing, and emailing the news to the world.
But then some 900 plus repetitions of the phrases, Weapons of Mass Destruction, imminent use of WMD, plus mushrooms on the horizon effectively frightened and bullied the Congress as the American fourth estate and people, who should have, but alas did not know better, or tried harder like the president and his staff to certify. After all, they don’t call it intelligence for nothing. The absence of intelligence seems to have occurred not at the CIA in this case, but everywhere else.
What’s more all those who challenged the absence of intelligence, i.e., the misleading non-facts, were called unpatriotic, disloyal to their country, wimps, commies, even terrorists, who, thanks to the USAPATRIOT Act, are subject to imprisonment merely on suspicion of those “in charge” of committing “terrorist acts” — such acts also to be defined by those “in charge.” That’s how far we have fallen from the grace of constitutional law, habeas corpus, the Bill of Rights, and the articles of the Geneva Convention.
Returning to intelligence, Ambassador Joseph Wilson had gone to Niger in Africa to check on a rumor generated by Italian intelligence, in this case a misleading intelligence letter, that yellowcake uranium had been sent from Niger to Saddam for his grand plan of imminent use of nuclear (not nucular) Weapons appearing on your horizon and mine at any minute.
Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, an experienced US Foreign Service officer, found that there was no yellow cake uranium sent from Niger to Iraq to Hussein, and that the story was a patent lie. As a result of his telling the truth, his wife, Valerie Plame, a senior Nonofficial Cover (NOC) CIA operative was outed via Dick Cheney’s office, endangering herself and all those she worked with, and which endangerment is also an act of treason.
Of course, Cheney, Bush and his brain, Karl. Rove, ducked all responsibility on this and laid the leak on Scooter Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff, who was supposed to go to jail for his egregious offense, but whose 30-month prison sentence was subsequently commuted by President Bush. Add to his rap sheet that along with the murders, of his own troops and Iraqis, over a war falsely started, the human and economic crisis it created, you have a Bushman, his fellow Bushmen and Bushwomen, Condoleeza Rice et al, who have committed an unparalleled treason.
Yet when Congressman Kucinich (D-Ohio) pressed for impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi managed to marginalize or backburner his bravely enumerated articles one way or the other, so that despite this honorable man’s telling the truth, he seemed like some kind of fringe figure, crackpot, who could barely hold his own hometown seat, which had been challenged by a suddenly affluent Republican contender.
So, as of this time, none of these criminals, these dogs of war have suffered any punishment, except in Bush’s case a humiliating defeat for his party in the national elections. Perhaps Americans should adopt this symbolic Arab tradition, and wherever they see the president or his black-eyed but usually Grace Kelly perfect press secretary, Dana Perino, or one of his other dogs of war (and they know who they are), shoes in abundance should be thrown at them.
The Arabs seem to have gotten this one so right. One, it helps express one’s anger. Two, you can’t really hurt someone physically even if the shoe hits its mark. Three, it is really humiliating, which is the object. This is what prompted Muntadar al-Zeidi, a correspondent for Al-Baghdadia television, an Iraqi-owned station based in Cairo, Egypt, to lose his shoes not his mind.
He was there nominally covering the signing ceremony with Bush and Nuri al-Maliki, during which Bush promised a free and democratic Iraq becoming “a force of freedom” and a “source of stability in a volatile region,” a region which Bush and his father certainly helped make volatile and unstable with two terrifying wars.
Bush then quipped, after the shoes flew by his head, that this it the kind of thing that can happen in a democratic country. Ha, ha! If so, it should happen more often and wherever and as long as Bush walks the face of the earth. Shoes should be thrown at him, of course, not to hurt him, at least not anything but his dormant conscience and wake it up to inform him of what he owes the world.
I would also suggest a gathering of shoe throwers at the Bush Library upon its completion. Let this singular act of conscience by an obscure reporter so irate for the truth to be heard that he risked his life, his career, his physical well-being, let it symbolize the world’s desire for same. In fact, I heard his screams as he was wrestled to the floor by the local goon-squad. In fact, you can see it right here. Share it with a friend.
By the way, whatever old shoes you have, or even new shoes you wish to set aside, do so. Put them in a bag. Your time will come. Call Imelda Marcos.
There will be a day when the hapless Bushman will be walking in Your Town and zam, a shoe will fly by and cause him to duck, once again reminded of his aand Saddam’s infamy, the latter duly strung up thanks to Bush.
Yet with just one shoe, even a sneaker, a beat up, old, dirty-laced sneaker, you can make your statement of protest against these fourflushers and killers. Now remember, we’re not asking for “shoe bombers,” which might invoke a panic and visit from the Department of Homeland Insecurity.
This is more like the pie-in-the-face protests of past days. But it’s even more ethnically eloquent rooted as it is in Arab culture. Try it on for size. Get a Bush poster, a shoe. Practice in your den, playroom, or apartment. After all, it doesn’t sound like we’re ready for tearing down Bush statues let alone hanging him. So the shoe’s the thing, as Shakespeare would have said. After all, besides your freedom, your house and assets, what have you got to lose?
This article was posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 4:58 am