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The Shoes Flung Round the World
by Gil Villagrán, MSW (gvillagran [at] casa.sjsu.edu)
Thursday Dec 3rd, 2009 7:06 PM
When an Iraqi reporter threw his shoes at President George W. Bush at a press conference, it caught the imagination of the world as an act of defiance by a David against a vastly more powerful Goliath.
The Shoes Flung Round the World
By Gil Villagrán, MSW
El Observador, San Jose, Jan. 2, 2009

The ignoble end of the Bush presidency could not have been more eloquently accented than by the pair of shoes flung at him by an Iraqi journalist as he shouted, "This is a farewell kiss, you dog! This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!"

Like "the shot heard round the world" referring to a musket shot initiating the American Revolutionary War, and later to the gunshot assassination of an archduke that plunged Europe into World War I, this incident has caught the imagination of the world as an act of defiance by a David against a vastly more powerful Goliath. Initially viewed by millions on news reports, there are now countless websites displaying the video, along with almost instantaneously created videogames to test your skill at shoe tossing with our president-as-target's "Being There" expression (as acted by Peter Sellers' simple-minded gardener mistakenly elevated to presidential advisor in a 1979 film), or with an expression, not of shock and awe (as our Iraq invasion strategy), but rather Alfred E. Neuman's "what, me, worry?" look. Google these names if you are unfamiliar with these satirical expressions of end of the American Century Americana.

Indeed, 28-year-old Iraqi TV reporter Muntadhar al-Zaidi, has lived his whole life under the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein, until replaced by our hopefully less brutal invasion-occupation-sectarian militias bombings of this unfortunate nation. In spite of the existence or non-existence intelligence failure of Saddam's mushroom cloud weapons of mass destruction, and the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive war, (war to prevent war) or the "Iraq has better targets than Afghanistan” doublespeak , shoe-toser al-Zaidi is correct to connect President Bush with the widows and orphans, called collateral damage. International aid agencies estimate at least 600,000 such deaths, two million misplaced refugees, and a devastated infrastructure that fails to provide safe water, sewage, health care, electricity, and education to most Iraqis after a five-year and trillion-dollar invasion and occupation.

To be sure, there was brutality before our 2003 U.S. invasion against Saddam, the former general that our State Department and Pentagon encouraged to take-over the socialist regime of his one-time mentor. Why would we do this? Because our foreign policy was to support anyone claiming anti-communism, and later as a counterweight against Iran, our other former client state under the Shah, who we installed after our other U.S. encouraged coup against that nation's democratically elected socialist government that planned to nationalize their one natural resource, petroleum. So, to protect U.S. and British petroleum corporate interests, we have been manipulating these nations' ruling class governments against each other and against their own people for more than half a century.

The question for the American people is: have we done enough damage? Have enough people been killed? Can our continuing military occupation accomplish anything good for the Iraqi people? Some say, "If we leave before the job is done there will be bloodbath." We have seen this movie before. This was said during our war against Vietnam. Yes, there was a bloodbath in Vietnam, with more than 2-3 million dead, most killed during our occupation, by American bombs and napalm, many still dying by Agent Orange and land mines.

It is time to leave Iraq; we have created enough bloodbaths in this tragic land. As a nation we cannot expect forgiveness from the widows and orphans or those killed in Iraq, but George "Goliath" Bush must forever duck from the shoes thrown at him by Muntadhar "David" al-Zaidi. The image of this American president ducking shoes will live forever in infamy and on the internet.