On air: Is this justice for the shoe thrower?

_45335225_006618519-1Back in December he took out his anger on President Bush by throwing his shoe at him during a trip to Iraq. A grave insult in Arab culture. Today that same journalist, Muntadar al-Zaidi, has been jailed for three years for assaulting a Head of State, despite being hailed a hero in the Arab world.

He told the court his actions were “natural, just like any Iraqi” against a leader whose forces had occupied his country.

Is this sentence a little extreme? This blogger thinks so

After all he missed and President Bush dismissed the incident. Or are we missing the point, is it just a matter of respect that Heads of State should not be attacked whilst visiting another country? Is it right that he has been made an example of? What if next time it’s not a shoe thrown but something that could endanger life?

109 Responses to “On air: Is this justice for the shoe thrower?”

  1. 1 Steve
    March 12, 2009 at 14:24

    I think 3 years is a bit harsh for assault, but he is guilty of committing assault on someone, which shouldn’t be tolerated.

  2. March 12, 2009 at 14:25

    That is a fair sentence for an idiot who threw his shoes at our President. If it had been Saddam do you think there would have been any other action other than immediate execution?

    It just is not right for anyone to start throwing anything at people. If you elect to be an idiot and strike at anyone like that…..realize that there are consequences. Three years in an Iraqi prison is fair.

    troop on the Oregon coast

  3. 3 Tony from Singapura
    March 12, 2009 at 14:33

    This is no normal assult, this is a professional journalist with privilidged access to a head of state.

    The expected standards of behavior are higher than if he was just a person on the street.

    Such a higher sentance is warranted.

  4. March 12, 2009 at 14:36

    Was there really such a law as “assaulting a Head of State”? Saddam is gone, and the reality of his brutality has been lost in the lies of muddled politics.

    No, this is exactly what I would have expected under Saddam. He through a shoe, at the man responsible for the death of dozens of his family members, hundreds of his neighbors, and hundreds of thousands of his countrymen. I wouldn’t have expected anything less. The fact that Bush did is just a final tribute to the ignorance in which he approached the culture and the region.

    If anybody had come to my country and did what Bush has done to Iraq with not just cause, a shoe throwing would have been the very least of his expectation when greeting the public. To be honest with you, if I had my chance to be in that audience, I would have joined the guy in the act even though GW was not only my president but my employer.

  5. 5 Roy, Washington DC
    March 12, 2009 at 14:38

    @ Steve

    Not that this sort of thing should be tolerated (it shouldn’t), but I don’t see how this rises to the level of assault. First of all, he missed, and second of all, it was just a shoe. Had he thrown something that could have caused pain or injury, there would be a stronger case for “throwing the book” at him…as is, though, three years is WAY too much punishment for what he did. Even one year would be excessive. This is mischief, not assault.

  6. 6 Anthony
    March 12, 2009 at 14:42

    Well, since if it was Saddam in office and something like that happened, he would have been beaten with life in prison or put to death, then I don’t think it’s such a bad deal.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  7. 7 Steve
    March 12, 2009 at 14:52

    @ Roy, assault is intentionally putting someone in apprehension of immediate harmful or offensive contact. It can be anything, so long as someone sees it coming, it’s assault. It could be a feather, a carrot, a knife, or a shoe.

  8. March 12, 2009 at 14:58

    James the Kenyan

    I think any discordant behavior even against a hate figure should not be tolerated. I wonder if this man had thrown shoes at a moderate figure like Sarkozy or Obama, would the Iraqis be supporting him. Decide for yourself. Just because the shoes never hit Bush doesn’t mean he shouldn’t face justice. The intent was there!

  9. 9 Alby
    March 12, 2009 at 15:02

    Hey troop in Oregon!

    I agree three years sounds about right. Especially, because of his blood on the floor after the ‘US trained’ democratic Iraqi security forces inflicted their barbarism on him after dragging him out of the room with all the evidence they needed captured on tape

    (not reported in any English language news including the BBC, but other languages)

    not sure I would use the term ‘idiot’

    The suffering we put those people through by our blind adherence to ‘our’ former President’s fear-mongering and scapegoating propaganda and oil business agenda is unbelievable.

    He has a legitimate beef with the former President of the so called ‘free world’

    And we will all pay cause we are one of the only democracies on the planet, yet we choose to ignore our responsibilities as voters and instead watch TV, shop, eat too much, and take in all the propaganda Washington and its captive Media industry arm can produce.

    Just goes to show how far off base our ‘troops’ are in their attitudes about other peoples on the planet. It’s not your fault, but the info you get fed, and the trust you instinctively imbue it with.

    Oregon is usually a progressive place the ‘Troop’ notwithstanding!

  10. March 12, 2009 at 15:03

    you know, this speaks to the bigger question of “how we are doing in Iraq?” If the point was to remove the threat of an overbearing and oppressive life that was related to a dictator, and instill the values of freedom, how are we doing. What are laws made for in a just society. Not to hold anybody to a higher status.

    In the US this punishment would have been met with great opposition and called unjust. What did this punishment just say to the population. “not everybody is equal” and there are limits to free speech when you are questioning those held to a higher status. And the seeds are planted.

  11. 11 Venessa
    March 12, 2009 at 15:21

    While I don’t blame the reporter for what he did it was still wrong and some sort of punishment is due, however 3 years is just ridiculous.

  12. 12 Steve in Boston
    March 12, 2009 at 15:21

    As I said in the other blog, he assaulted the President of the United States and should rightfully have been shot on sight by the Secret Service. He’s pretty lucky to get only three years and still be alive.

  13. 13 Ron S. from Ft Myers Florida
    March 12, 2009 at 15:25

    He should be held accountable for his actions? Yes.But I really don’t think 3 years for a shoe thrown is a fair punishment. If he were just an “average joe” walking past the President rather than being a journalist, and did the same thing, would his punishment have been the same?

  14. 14 Tom D Ford
    March 12, 2009 at 15:31

    “…Muntadar al-Zaidi, has been jailed for three years for assaulting a Head of State, despite being hailed a hero in the Arab world.”

    But that “Head of State”, G W Bush, who attacked the people of Iraq with his Shock and Awe bombing campaign, then invaded and still occupies Iraq, is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people, is responsible for the ghetto-ization of millions of Iraqi refugees, who created more terrorists in the world because of his actions against the Iraqi people, yes that G W Bush still walks free.

    When will there be justice for the “bomb and bullet” throwing former president Bush?

    If three years is justice for throwing shoes as an insult, what would be justice for Bush for his War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity against the people of Iraq?

    At the absolute maximum the journalist should have been made to apologize to journalists for violating the trust placed in journalists as a group. He owes no apology to Bush or his fellow people of Iraq. He showed great and admirable courage in insulting a tyrant to his face and truly is an example of a hero for people who really value human life and freedom. Bush, as the Occupying Power in Iraq, could have pardoned him but he didn’t even have that much decency in him.

  15. 15 imfluss
    March 12, 2009 at 15:33

    Yes, the man shouldn’t have thrown that shoe. He should have expressed his anger verbally, in a non-violent way, like all civilised people do.

    On the other hand, three years is way too harsh for what he did. Think of the kind of violence George Bush made possible to happen: In Iraq, in Abu Ghraib, in Gitmo – he doesn’t even get fined, let alone jailed.

  16. 16 Thomas Murray
    March 12, 2009 at 15:34

    You all make excellent points, but I tend to agree with Roy in Washington, DC, were even a six month sentence for mischief would be too harsh.

    Iraq should be encouraging “non-violent” demonstration, not throwing the book at it.

    (No more time to chat. My college b-ball team is playing at noon. And that’s why organized sports and television were invented; so that man could start drinking in the middle of the day and not feel guilty about it. Cheers…)

    Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  17. 17 Chukwuma
    March 12, 2009 at 15:46

    I am not in a position to judge if 3 years is a fair sentence for the shoe thrower, but the fact remains that it was completely wrong and irresponsible for him to have reacted in this way. This may be normal in Arab culture, but Mr. Bush is not an Arab, and even moreso a president. Mr Al-Zaidi being an educated journalist, must surely have known better. He has embarrassed himself, his family and his country for this unwarranted piece of aggression. If indeed the law stipulates that he serve 3 years for his crime, then so be it!

  18. 18 DOLAPO AINA
    March 12, 2009 at 15:47

    Well, 3 years for throwing a shoe is a bit harsh. but why did the security men at the court not let journalists et al view the jugdment. why did they make the citizens believe he would be sety free only to renege on their statement?
    Honestly, there was no way the judges would have allowed him to go free, not forgetting the covert pressure that must have come from the Bush’s dynasty back in the states.
    Also, is there any law in the Iraqi constituion that makes mention of assaulting a head of state? what the journlist did was what a lot of people wanted to tell Bush verbally. He lied about Iraq, surpressed calmer minds who spoke out, wasted funds via awards of contracts to cronies in Afghanistan et al. Hoenstly, he didnt leave a good legacy. lets face it.
    But the sentence is a bit harsh. Anyway we view it, the journalist is a hero in the eyes of a lot of people.

    DolAPO Aina,

  19. March 12, 2009 at 16:03

    I think he was aware of the consequence when he threw his shoe. He also must have known that he will be celebrated as a hero (the same way some Celebrate suicide bombers). In as much as I did not agree with President Bush on many issues, I think the behaviour of this journalist needs to be punished as much as possible: imagine if the shoe had injured the serving president another country… there is no telling where such would have ended, it could have led to a needless war. So that was not just a case of everyday assault, it is a test of how serious Iraq wants to be taken in the comity of nations.
    If Iraq had acquitted the journalist, many will be happy, after all Bush wasn’t a top favourite in Iraq- but I doubt if any other President will be confident visiting Iraq, also, Iraqi Presidents and officials will be vulnerable abroad.
    So yes, this journalist got what he bargained for, and I hope we will not see others like him.

  20. March 12, 2009 at 16:03

    I think the journalist’s behavior was unbecoming as a journalist, and he should face punnishment for it.

    Though he was angry as he said, he should have expressed his anger in different form or shape. Who knows what was his next attempt. Others will follow his foot step if no action is taken against him.

    Mohammed Kondawa

    Monrovia Liberia

  21. March 12, 2009 at 16:22

    “Justice” is a very cloudy in my Iraq, there have never been clear-cut borders, and Iraqi justice has always been stuck in the “grey” area… I, as an Iraqi citizen, do have very conflicting thoughts regarding this issue… A part of me disagrees with and condemns what he’s done, and another part of me agrees with and heartily applauds what he’s done… BUT there’s this thing that I am so sure of : Mr Bush has surely got what he deserved, he deserves neither our respect nor our hospitality, he’s an unwanted and unwelcomed “guest?”, and the fact that everyone has messed up in my Iraq never gives him an innocence certificate… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  22. 22 Matt in Oregon
    March 12, 2009 at 16:26

    Did he ever give a reason behind throwing his shoes?:

    Was it that he opposed the toppling Saddam?

    The handling of the post-invasion?

    The fact that the US was still in Iraq?

    Pan-Arab ideas and that the US should not even be there?


    Did he just want to be famous by taking advantage of the unpopularity of Bush?

  23. March 12, 2009 at 16:32

    I agree with Tony from Singapora, To paraphrase, “This is no normal assault, this is a professional journalist with priviliged access to a head of state.
    The expected standards of behavior are higher than if he was just a person on the street.” But I think the sentence was about right for the offense, taking into account the man’s position, lack of a police record and obvious lack of intent to seriously injure Mr. Bush. (Bush does tend to smirk…it had annoyed me as well)

    And in the US, the Secret Police who surround the presidents at all times would’ve probably given him many more difficulties to contend with as a probable ‘terrorist’, But I feel that his popularity and notariety will more than repay the prison sentence. If he can still write in prison, maybe it’s a wash.

  24. 24 Kim Johnson
    March 12, 2009 at 16:38

    He should be happy to have only 3 years! If he has done this to an Arab leader, he would has been executed!
    I think 3 years is too lean, 20 years he deserves! George W. Bush is the hero and deserves all the respect in the world, he was a great President and will stay this way, no matter what the radical liberals say. They are making America weak now with their liberal policies.

  25. 25 Anthony
    March 12, 2009 at 16:46

    Sorry for being ignorant about this, but can someone tell me what would have been the outcome if an American Journalist threw a shoe at an Iraqi PM while he was at a press conference in Washington D.C.?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  26. March 12, 2009 at 16:48

    I think this guy is guilty for placing the integrity of the entire journalistic core in jeopardy and he is lucky to have escaped with such a lenient sentence. If the association in journalists in Iraq is indeed a credible one, they should take away his license and just bar him for good. He is no different from the insurgents placing the lives of civilians at risk. Did you say his only weapon is a shoe? Oh yeah, I have seen a fly kill an elephant…

  27. 27 crescentmoon
    March 12, 2009 at 16:50

    Can I still comment?

    I completely agree with Dwight from Cleveland, Roy from DC, & Alby. If Bush had any class, he’d publicly ask for leniency for the man saying there was no real harm done. But considering he said at the time that he didn’t understand what the man’s problem was, I’m sure his head is still in the clouds. So glad he’s gone (though his “wonderful” legacy will live on & on).

    And James Karuga… “any discordant behavior…should not be tolerated.” If we had lived by that here, we would not be a country. Let’s hear it for discordant behaviors – as long as no one is injured!

    “Shot on sight”?? For tossing a shoe or 2? Yow! Steve in Boston, you scare the _ _ _ _ out of me.

    Ron S. in Ft. Myers: it probably depends on where the shoe throwing took place, Iraq or Ft. Myers.

  28. 28 Count Iblis
    March 12, 2009 at 17:03


    It could be a feather

    So, where are all these people convicted for assault because they threw a feather?

  29. 29 Archibald in Oregon
    March 12, 2009 at 17:08

    The true insult is that this man goes to jail, while Bush walks free…….

    @Steve…..How can you assault someone with a feather? Gouged with a quill? please explain…….

  30. 30 nora
    March 12, 2009 at 17:08

    Muntadar al-Zaidi gave President Bush his finest hour. Bush showed a sportsmanlike attitude with his baseball duck from the shoes.

    As a journalist he committed the ultimate sin of becomming the story. It took courage and acceptance of incarceration to commit the act, so unless there were steel toed shoes or spike heels involved, I would have to call it civil disobedience. Would Thoreau? Don’t know.

    Three years? The misguided individual who shot off the starter pistol to remind us that we would be one bullet away from a Dan Quail Presidency got six months solitary at least; maybe more. Symbolic acts that might show how easy it is to commit grave acts are unsettling, hard to figure.

    It seems no harm done to Bush, so perhaps he could plead for a reduced sentence as an act of good will.

  31. 31 Steve
    March 12, 2009 at 17:10

    @ Count Iblis

    Maybe nobody has ever tried it before? I think you should have gotten a lawyer on this show to explain assault, battery as torts, then about the criminal aspects of assault. People are misinformed in the audience and seem to think that because he missed, there is no crime. Would you say the same if I fired a gun and missed? All that matters is the intent of the defendant, and what a reasonable person in the shoes of the victim would have felt.

    The defendant was a journalist. He was in a position of trust, hence why he was allowed up close to both leaders. He abused that position of trust, committed assault, and now he’s being punished for it. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

    As for what Chloe said in the introduction, she question what would be different had he thrown something that could have caused serious bodily harm. If he hit, he could have killed him, especially if he got hit in the neck. You learn in law school, that assault with a deadly weapon could be ANYTHING so long as it killed them. So if you threw an ice cream cone and someone and it killed them, that would be assault with a deadly weapon, even if you only wanted to scare the person.

  32. 32 Steve
    March 12, 2009 at 17:12

    @ Crescentmoon
    The secret service and other security agents don’t take any threat as joking matter. He’s very lucky to be alive, shoe or not. Just this week, the secret service was doing exercises by my building, and we were not allowed to even look out the windows or go near the windows, as they had snipers on the roof. And the President was nowhere near here. You ran the risk of getting shot by looking out the window, or at a minimum, having the secret service come pay you a visit for the audacity of looking out your own window. So think what they might do for throwing a shoe at the president.

  33. 33 Sadie, Portland, OR
    March 12, 2009 at 17:18

    I think he simply took out his frustrations that so many of us wished we could have done throughout the eight years of Bushes time in office. I’m sure there would be more than 1095 Americans who would each serve a day of his sentence just to see him do it if it was possible. Quite crafty in my opinion, but it’s too bad he wasn’t a baseball player from Cuba…he would have had a better arm.

  34. 34 Tom D Ford
    March 12, 2009 at 17:20

    What a great idea!

    I’d voluntarily serve one of his days in jail too!

    How many other people would help out like that?

  35. 35 Nate, Portland, OR
    March 12, 2009 at 17:21

    Three years seems very harsh for somebody with no intent, or reasonable probability, of causing harm. Especially since he’s apparently already had his head cracked for him by the Iraqi security. Shouldn’t that count as some “time served”?

    I think an appropriate sentence is probably more like loss of whatever license is required to gain access to interview people of power, plus a fine plus a few months. The time in jail is only because, as others have noted, he was a professional with priveleged access and thus should be held to higher standards. Three years is too much time, however.

    That said (and this is not my idea, but I don’t recall the source), Bush should show a little magnanimity and ask the Iraqi government to commute the man’s prison sentence. After all, Bush himself seemed more amused than anything. His response was in my eyes his greatest post-9/11 moment! Plus, it’d show he’s not all bad. Finally, it’d be good to show a little detached bemusement regarding this whole bizzare shoe/foot anti-fetish plaguing the ME.

  36. 36 nora
    March 12, 2009 at 17:21

    Dick Cheney blew birdshot in a Republican fundraiser’s face and didn’t even have to go down to the cop shop. The law may be clear, but Bush-Cheney were not really famous for respecting the Magna Carta or the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Reason took a back seat for eight years, and reason is certainly an element in the application of the law, national or international.

  37. 37 Roberto
    March 12, 2009 at 17:22

    RE “”Muntadar al-Zaidi, has been jailed for three years for assaulting a Head of State, despite being hailed a hero in the Arab world. “”

    ———— If the Arab world wants this weak sister as a hero, so be it.

    The incident also marks the final chapter in the way the democracies of the world will be judging America’s weak hero, GDub.

    Darned shame they couldn’t have met years ago in a fraternity hazing party. Might have set a fraternity record for hair pulling and shoe tossing.

  38. 38 Fred in Portland OR
    March 12, 2009 at 17:23

    Yes, 3 years is too long. I’d say maybe 5 minutes of public service would be a little heavy handed. Though, if the universe was truly just a million shoes would rain down on Bush every day for the rest of his life.

  39. 39 Wil Geier
    March 12, 2009 at 17:27

    He’s guilty of attempted assault. If he threw a shoe at another Iraqi, the court wouldn’t hear it.
    The journalist is only being punished for throwing a shoe at a person in power. Perhaps there should be a legal term for “attempted assault on a person of power.”

  40. 40 Ibrahim in UK
    March 12, 2009 at 17:27

    Imagine Bin Laden just conquered the US, killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, setup permanent al-qaeda bases in your country and starts addressing you from a podium in your own capital. You would want to throw more than just a shoe at that man. Imprisoning (along with the severe beating) someone for protesting against the occupation of your country and massmurder of your countrymen is an act of cowardly treason.

  41. 41 Steve
    March 12, 2009 at 17:28

    This conversation is pretty disturbing, when people consider violence as an act of “expressing”. How would you feel if I expressed my anger at my wife by throwing things at her? Would you be apologizing for me? People need to get over their hatred of Bush and not let it blind them to the application of justice when a crime has been committed.

  42. 42 Venessa
    March 12, 2009 at 17:30

    I’m curious what the punishment would have been if it had not been a public official and was done to a person on the street. Take that sentence and double it. That seems more fair and I’m sure people would still volunteer to do time for him. Bush on the other hand deserves to be put in prison for life!

  43. 43 margot in oregon
    March 12, 2009 at 17:30

    What if this had happened in the US – wouldn’t it be considered free speech? I agree that it wsn’t the most professional way for a journalist to act. However this was NOT a criminal act. In fact I was among those who cheered this man for throwing his shoes. I’d be willing to serve a day of his sentence too.

  44. 44 Tom D Ford
    March 12, 2009 at 17:30

    That journalist should have to write an apology on a chalkboard 100 times and that is all.

  45. 45 Scott [M]
    March 12, 2009 at 17:30

    The sentence is too steep. But, it was an act of violence, and even if we don’t like the target, the perpetrator should be punished.

    But then again, why have higher standards for our citizens then for our governments. Our countries go to war, unprovoked, which is violent! Why expect more from the people?

  46. 46 Edward Craig
    March 12, 2009 at 17:30

    I wish his aim had been better. Of course, not being a Republican (or a Democrat,.Americans come in more than just the two flavors) I found the first shoe thrower highly amusing.

  47. 47 ecotopian
    March 12, 2009 at 17:33

    So what is the sentence for attempted assault in Iraq? Once we know that, we can then judge if this sentence is too harsh. Without that information, it’s difficult to say if this sentence is too harsh.

  48. 48 Abram Enoch
    March 12, 2009 at 17:34

    I don’t understand how/why this guy has become a hero in Arab counries! He is not a woman slapping her abusing husband. For a journalist who had been accredited to be part of a press conference of a world leader, is a shameful and primitive act. I think, with the Arab world on this planet, we have a very difficult parallel world

  49. 49 Lats Hoffman
    March 12, 2009 at 17:38

    Three years is too harsh a sentence for having done something that a lot of people around the world would have liked to have done themselves if given the opportunity or even half a chance. Instead of looking into the moral character of a U.S. presidential candidate perhaps there should be a system set up to test the intelligence of candidates. It is a job that requires more than half a brain after all. I hope that the shoes have been donated to the G. W. Bush presidential library.

  50. 50 Maccus Germanis
    March 12, 2009 at 17:40

    Three years is certianly excessive.

    In Las Vegas,Richard Paul Springer commited a similar simple assualt against Reagan on a Monday and was released on a Tues. on his own recognizance. This was back in 1992, and I can’t find any coverage of further sentencing.

    According to Massachusett’s guidlines, available on line, this type of assult would only garner parole.

  51. 51 Steve
    March 12, 2009 at 17:42

    Would the people forget that the victim was Bush here. How can you say an act of violence directed towards someone is not a criminal act? If I threw a snowball and you and I missed, it would still be assult, and I could go to jail for it. That you hate Bush has nothing to do with the FACT a crime occurred here. Get over your hatreds and look at the facts.

  52. 52 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    March 12, 2009 at 17:42

    Throwing projectiles at a sporting event is an act of hooliganism. Throwing projectiles at a press conference has nothing to do with “freedom of expression. The thrower is not courageous, nor is he a hero. He is a hooligan.

    The punishment for the throwing of projectiles at a news conference should be exactly the same as is meted out to the throwers of projectiles at a sporting event.

  53. 53 Ogola Benard
    March 12, 2009 at 17:50

    The fear sentence would have been a three year suspended sentence – He was legally there to cover his news, endangered his fellow colleagues and he was the news!
    The world no longer needs grudges! He does not deserve the sentence!

  54. 54 Puck 101
    March 12, 2009 at 17:51

    Is it true he got 3 years ? He got lucky … I heard Obama wanted to give him life for missing Bush with the throw…. Well, when he gets out, Armani may give him a contract , or he can get a fortune from endorsing some other shoe manufacturer.

  55. 55 viola
    March 12, 2009 at 17:58

    Read what Steve has to say. He has it completely right. Drop the emotions on this one. Law is not about emotions.

  56. 56 Ogola Benard
    March 12, 2009 at 18:03

    This was just some guy! why should we pretend? Bush said nothing and i have a feeling he forgave him !

  57. 57 BSBMoony
    March 12, 2009 at 18:23

    I absolutely believe that 3 years for endangering a foreign Head of State on a visit to his country. It does not matter what he thought of George Bush, the fact is Bush was visiting Iraq as the leader of the United States. No country should take such an act lightly because, one day, a person who is “protesting” might throw a grenade instead.

    Let him serve his time and then he can write his book or do the TV circuit and make money out of his current fame.

  58. 58 Ogola Benard
    March 12, 2009 at 18:34

    Lets figure out what bye bye George Bush wanted Bush to say that he did not say!

  59. 59 Josiah Soap, USA
    March 12, 2009 at 18:40

    Three years is absolutely nothing. In 1981 a young man in UK was jailed for 7 years for firing a cap gun (toy gun) at the Queen when she was riding in a parade.
    This guy threw a shoe at a head of state. The way you hear people complain on this blog you would think he was getting 30 years. In the UK people are jailed for hate speech i,e. just giving their opinion. Three years is nothing the guy shuold think himself lucky.

  60. 60 Steve in Boston
    March 12, 2009 at 18:41

    Why do you all think you have to take your shoes off for security when you fly? Ever hear of a shoe bomb? If the Secret Service had been doing it’s job properly, this guy would not be alive today. He’s one lucky idiot.

  61. 61 Zach in Jamaica
    March 12, 2009 at 18:42

    This is justice deserved for an act that brought shame on the host country….

  62. 62 Dillon in Seattle
    March 12, 2009 at 18:44

    While I do not condone the act of violence, we can not consider this as an attempt on George Bush’s life, as some would think. My feelings about our former President notwithstanding, 3 years is far too harsh a punishment. If an American protester through something at a leader like Ahmadinejad or another guest at the UN they would not be punished in this manner. This is a kangaroo court and anathema to democracy.

  63. 63 Bruno
    March 12, 2009 at 18:45

    3 years.. that’s just ridiculous.
    Especially when the true criminal of the story walk quietly away.

  64. 64 AZ
    March 12, 2009 at 18:47


    Muntadar al-Zaidi has served enough time and should be pardoned now.

    Can Iraq really afford to keep him in prison ?


  65. 65 Ogola Benard
    March 12, 2009 at 18:49

    If you look at the background? what was bush security doing?It was funny!

  66. March 12, 2009 at 18:50

    The shoes didn’t cause any harm to Bush, but the journalist intended to hit Bush with the shoes. We went into Iraq to give the people there freedom, including the freedom to demonstrate. The sending of the shoe-thrower to jail undermines what we are trying to achieve in Iraq. A moderate fine would have been more fair.

  67. 67 AZ
    March 12, 2009 at 18:53


    This is USA justice.

    Please refer to this article :



    Judges took bribes to jail teenagers
    The US has been stunned by the case of two judges who took bungs from private prisons

  68. 68 Puneet
    March 12, 2009 at 18:55

    You mentioned that George Bush was a head of the state that is why 3 years sentence is justified.. well why is this double standard, one way we would like Sudan’s president to be prosecuted. On the other hand Bush and Blair who went to invade Iraq on the pretax of WMD and eventually killed so many people and damaged the country should be treated like some celebrities. Bush is the worst thing which has happened to the word and what Zaidi has done is right. He should be freed immediately.

  69. 69 Zach in Jamaica
    March 12, 2009 at 18:55

    if Mr Bush has committed crimes and atrocities in Iraq his day in court will come one day but until then, he deserves to be treated with the highest respect as the president of the most powerful country

  70. 70 Patti in Florida
    March 12, 2009 at 18:58

    Should be be punished? Yes. Is three years too much? Yes.

  71. 71 AZ
    March 12, 2009 at 19:00

    There is no justice in Iraq.

    What about the green custard thrown at

    Peter Mandelson .

    No action taken !

  72. 72 Tom D Ford
    March 12, 2009 at 19:20

    Let’s take this stupid hypothetical about a “throwing a grenade” off the table, because the US Secret Service would not allow anyone near the US President with any kind of a weapon or even a dangerous background. We can be well assured that Bush was very well protected from any actual harm by anyone.

  73. 73 sulayman Dauda
    March 12, 2009 at 21:30

    chronologically for one to be a hero must served a dentention. and if at all one can not expresse a feelings then why social justice? could the journalist one day after his jail time be the Iraq number one citizens? then what can his enemies who jail him be?

  74. 74 Yasmine
    March 12, 2009 at 22:01

    i think it’s a harsh punishment, well because he didn’t hurt or harm the former president at all. What if an american citizen has done the same thing,the media would say it’s part of our free speech/ expration.It’s just not right, i think the court gave him 3 years is because they are afraid of critisim.

  75. 75 Thomas Paine, Pittsburgh, USA
    March 12, 2009 at 22:06

    If the brave Iraqi shoe thrower were tried in the USA, there would not be a single jury that would give him even one day in prison. Fact is, there would be a long line of Americans that would love to have their chance to throw their own pair of shoes. He was the most unpopular American president in recent history.

    Bush said himself that the incident was a positive sign of democracy in Iraq, so why is this man being charged with a crime?


  76. 76 Georg
    March 12, 2009 at 23:56

    First, I’d like to say that I found it quite surprising that former President Bush has such exceptional reflexes. He avoided the shoes with such ease, one would have thought he knew the shoes were on their way.
    I don’t know if three years is a fair term for assault with a “weapon” be it a shoe or otherwise. When a projectile is thrown at a head of state, in the few moments it is flying through the air a sequence of high security measures is triggered to save the life of the protected entity. It is no simple matter. Any thinking/rational individual would agree that there is no way to know what is being thrown or how dangerous it is. Nor is there any way to gauge the culprit’s intent. It would be treated as an attempt on a head of state’s life.
    However, some of us have the privilege of living in relatively safe environs with expectations of certain socialized norms in terms of human behavior and our general security. This journalist lived in a war zone even prior to the US occupation. So, can we expect that he would asses his actions from the same perspective? Would the violent aspect of the act of shoe throwing seem inane to someone who lives in a war zone? Was his intention to give the former President a glimpse of what Iraqis experience daily: the feeling of one’s life in danger? Is it fair to judge this individual by our standards?

  77. 77 Archibald in Oregon
    March 13, 2009 at 00:36

    @ steve
    Calling this anything,but , an unfortunate incident is giving it way too much significance. What you do with your wife is your own business……This was a public act of defiance, not a marital dispute. The term, “criminal act”, should be reserved for use on criminals, (like George W. Bush, no hatred necessary, just a fact), not overwrought journalists who need a time out.

  78. March 13, 2009 at 03:17

    As an individual who was born and raised in America, I thave the following opinion, Bush said that he invaded Iraq to install freedom and democracy. The Shoe Thrower was just simply expressing his democratic rights.

  79. March 13, 2009 at 06:25

    This man was cock-eyed by the Iraqi court. He goes to jail for 3 years for, ahem, throwing his shoes at Bush, who has, ahem, affrighted an entire country under false pretext.

  80. 80 Zainab from Iraq
    March 13, 2009 at 08:30

    This is ridiculous.. 3 years for throwing shoes?!!! then how many years for throwing rockets?!!! didn’t Bush throw his rockets and all kinds of weopens he has on my country…why doesn’t he come in front of any court??
    O! yes cuz he is the head of the UNITED STATES. he has every right to do everything. And we are a second rate people!! heh
    I believe that we must punish the head to give a lesson to all people.. not vice versa.

    “What if next time it’s not a shoe thrown but something that could endanger life?”
    Oh are we gonna judge people according to what might happen next?? this is strange!!!

  81. 81 Malachi
    March 13, 2009 at 10:19

    Would he get 3 years for ‘flipping him a bird’?

  82. March 13, 2009 at 10:42

    What he did lost,
    what he did find,

    Three years of his life for imprisonment,
    some injuries on his person,

    who is he mr.Zaidi,
    no one know him before this incident,
    but now he is a internationaly recognised personality,
    icon of protest.

    No doubt, he has been good side in regard to the bargain.

  83. 83 Ibrahim in UK
    March 13, 2009 at 10:59


    If your wife had just killed your children and relatives and burnt down your house, we would excuse you for throwing shoes at her. But even without that comparison, if you throw shoes at your wife, or anyone else on the street, you would not go to prison for 3 years. In the UK, a woman threw custard pie all over Mandelson (a politician), she will definately not spend time in prison. Let’s not start treating US presidents as Gods who need special laws over other mortals.

  84. 84 Dave in Florida
    March 13, 2009 at 12:21

    A guy throwing shoes at Bush… It’s barely newsworthy. It just shows how desperate the media has become since this little incident is being deliberately manufactured into a despicable act.

  85. 85 Steve
    March 13, 2009 at 12:50

    @ Ibrahim

    No we wouldn’t excuse throwing shoes at your wife, regardless of what she did, because unless it was in self defense, it’s assault, and you would be held criminally liable for it. “We” don’t treat US Presidents as Gods, Iraq might have, but “We” didn’t and John Hinckley got ZERO jail time for shooting Ronald Reagan.

  86. March 13, 2009 at 12:53

    @ Roberto,

    Absolutly right. So Bush goes to the country to enstate “democracy” in which we all know “freedom of speech” is a pinnicle. Then when he is met with Freedom of speech, he doesn’t step in and see to it this guy gets pardoned? He was right on the Scooter Libby thing when it happened.

    It has always been a looming question of this action, “what if you free a people to choose, and they choose to be ruled by a dictator and build nuclear weapons?”

  87. 87 alby
    March 13, 2009 at 15:33

    it does really beg the question… are crimes and criminals decided by who is in power?

    The truth is Bush violated every natural and spiritual law, but because he is Pres of the US (elected by a deliberately blinded and gullible people), he is not accountable for war crimes against humanity.

    But this shoe thrower is a criminal???

    It is the same thing which I just can’t get out of my head, that the US took $ billions for decades from Latin Americans to invest in the US stock market and real estate, and so there has been no investment in Latin America.

    One might argue nor even is there how a serious entrepreneurial class there because we helped create an indolent elite who could more easily make money by someone else doing the work (not now though).

    And now we don’t want poor working class people pouring over our borders to escape destitution that we ourselves had a hand in making. Yet I love to hear Americans refer to ‘illegals’ and law and order etc etc.

    They overlook the immorality and inhumanity of these so called laws, and the lawless behaviour of people protected by so called laws.

  88. 88 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    March 13, 2009 at 16:00

    Hi WHYSers!

    I am a little torn. I feel that the sentence is a little harsh, even though, I concede that a visiting head of state and no less a person than former President Bush deserves, at least, the respect of not having somethingh thrown at him. To suggest, however, that he was ‘assaulted’ or that three years, compared to an execution (if it were Sadam who was the leader at whom the shoes were thrown) is both inaccurate and misleading.

    Inaccurate because the issue of the insult directed at the former US President was not a direct hit, nor from what we can tell, was it intended to do anything other than to register the frustrations of the man in question, journalistic credentials aside.

    Further, whether he would have been executed had he thrown the shoes at Sadam Hussein who was, himself, executed as a result of the US lead ‘War on Terror’ moves into dangerous territory. Not just because of the obvious breach of human rights suggested by this recommendation (?), it also, implicitly, compares the two leaders in a similar light.

    Thereby, making Mr. al-Zaidi’s actions understandable and, therefore, not as deserving of the three year sentence. After all, if the price of ‘justice’ can be so high, it behooves all Iraqis to throw their shoes both at theirs and other world leaders.

  89. 89 Allan
    March 13, 2009 at 16:30

    The point is that the episode was demeaning to the office of The President of the United States and not just to the individual who happened to hold that office at the time.

    On the other hand, didn’t the then holder of that office demean the Presidency by allowing himself to be nominated and then elected? Couldn’t he have used one of his party’s bywords on a different topic and “Just Say No”?

  90. 90 Ibrahim in UK
    March 13, 2009 at 17:37

    Iraq is under occupation by the US. Do Iraqis not have the right to self-defence?
    Throwing a shoe at the uninvited leader of an unwanted occupier is one of the least acts of resistance that someone can do.
    When Iraq invaded Kuwait in the 90s, would anyone have considered it “assault” if a Kuwaiti citizen had shot Saddam Hussein?

  91. 91 D in Hope, Idaho
    March 13, 2009 at 18:33

    I think this man did the right thing and now he must pay for it. Shoe throwing is a part of this man’s culture. This is a courageous man. He felt compelled to show his total disgust of Bush no matter what the consequences. George Bush’s presidency was an egregious affront to the world’s rightful expectations of its leaders. His behavior was an affront to and brought much misery to almost every Iraqi citizen except those in the Iraqi government for they behaved in only in some cases worse than Bush. George Bush’s behavior will cause much misery for many years to come for lots of people – our armed services men and women and their families to just name a few in the very long list. I don’t know who I would blame for his election to that office because I didn’t vote for him and couldn’t stand listening to him from the time he began his campaign in his first run. Considering the miss steps, mishandling and downright illegal and immoral behavior of GW while the most powerful leader of the world, the fact that he wasn’t impeached before something so embarrassing happened to him, is the fault of Nancy Pelosi. Just because he was president, doesn’t mean he didn’t deserve it. Actually, he deserved having a shoe thrown at him and worse.

  92. March 13, 2009 at 18:40

    The “lack of scientific evidence” presented argument is not one that is terribly good. Not all of us are meteorologists, and we shouldn’t be taking sides on this without actually having a good idea what we are talking about.

    The people who DO know what they are talking about, however, have reached a large consensus, so we will go with the scientific majority.

  93. March 14, 2009 at 02:54

    State counsel contended that,
    throwing shoe on the president,
    Muqtda Al zaidi committed a crime,
    because Bush was visiting dignitary and high profile.

    Defence counsel ,on the other hand argued that,
    Bush was not visiting dignitary,
    he was not invited here.

    Zaidi pleaded not guilty and said,
    his action was prompted by anger over Bush’s claim of victory in a war,
    that has devastated his country.

    What Mr.zaidi said,
    at the time of occurence,
    no need to repeat it,
    world media has already repeated it time and again,

    Having seen him,addressing the news conference,
    zaidi lost control on him and did,shouldn’t did.

    In the matter of fact,
    it was a result of sudden provocation,
    circumstantial evidence support it,
    sudden provocation has proved in circumstances,
    so he is not liable to sentence.

  94. 94 SS
    March 14, 2009 at 10:54

    Off with his head, I say! [and I am a westerner!]

    The world has become too lenient.

  95. 95 Emile Barre
    March 14, 2009 at 12:58

    Is it justice for Bush?

  96. March 14, 2009 at 13:53

    According to the news,received here by world electronic media,
    Defence is going to file an appeal in the high court gainst the sentence
    awarded to zaidi.

    My views on this are that,
    the crime,committed by him,
    is a result of sudden provocation,
    so deserve some sympathy.

  97. 97 Tom D Ford
    March 14, 2009 at 17:44

    Bush invaded Iraq on the pretext of getting rid of WMDs. And that was the only reluctant permission he got from the UN. And even that was based on lies.

    It is just Republican revisionist history lies to say the invasion was about overthrowing a dictator, or establishing democracy; those were not the goals, those were only thought up after WMDs were not found.

    Tell the truth, people, that is the only way forward. Repeating Republican lies just keeps us from solving problems.

  98. 98 D.Breimo
    March 15, 2009 at 07:36

    Who can blame this man for feeling anger after what has happened to his
    Coming face to face with the leader of the murdering and pillaging horde that has
    demolished his country, he just lost it.

    If anyone deserves to be in jail it must be GWB and his acolytes.
    US taxpayers should read “The Bush Agenda” for details of this disaster, and
    you may want to throw a few shoes yourselves.

  99. 99 crescentmoon
    March 15, 2009 at 19:11

    @ Steve

    No, I thought that because no real harm was done, Bush might be gracious enough to speak up for him – what was I thinking? And if your wife did what Bush did, you have my permission to throw a shoe at her. If he had tossed a glass of water, would that be “violence?”

    Interesting point, Sadie.

    @ Fred

    LOL – I have a few pairs I’d contribute.

    @ Ibrahim

    right on!

    @ Steve

    We’re just saying the punishment for the crime is excessive. And why do I get the impression you wish the Secret Service HAD shot him?

    @ Zack in Jamaica

    Don’t hold your breath – for Bush to get his day in court.

    @ Zainab

    Bless you. You have perhaps the most right to speak out here.

    @ Steve

    I’m willing to bet “no matter what she did” or didn’t do, you wouldn’t get 3 years for throwing shoes at your wife here.

  100. 100 stephen
    March 15, 2009 at 20:49

    On the other hand, to the aurgument that assauting anyone should not be tollerated, wasn’t the shoe ‘simply an act of obvious frustration?

    We, the international public, have been fed nothing ‘spin’ since the invasion of Iraq.

    Bush and Blaire went in without international agreement. Years later we have more spin…..its an utterly frustrating situation.

  101. 101 Jennifer
    March 16, 2009 at 12:25

    You know what I’d make him do?

    Write a paper on “professional Journalism” in which he learns how those in his profession should act but fail to. It’s “journalists” like him that make many people see the media in a bad light.

    Then, I’d make him publicly apologize for his actions.

    Then, I’d make his go forward with the sentence he was given because he deserves to spend every day of it in jail paying the consequences for his actions.

    NOONE deserved that lack of respect. It says alot when my “fellow” Americans try to validate this guy’s actions by using the “he deserved it” excuse. Oh, just imagine if someone did that to the messiah. I don’t think the reaction would be the same and he has in this short time did more damage than George Bush ever did to the US.

  102. 102 Raggie G. Wynter
    March 16, 2009 at 16:24

    I find the sentece gravely unjust. He was charged with assault of a Head of State, yet interestingly enough, the weapon in question MISSED President Bush. Should’nt the crime be ammended to ‘attempted assault?’ What would he have gotton if the shoe HAD hit?

    It is true that Bush is not just a person but is an institution predecated by Western philosophy but the punishment should fit the crime. He ATTEMPTED to assault him but was unsuccessful. He should have gotton a suspended sentence with a year’s worth of community serive – after all, he did provide a community service in his actions.

    RG. Wynter,

  103. 103 Kevin Burke
    March 16, 2009 at 19:52

    Regarding The Shoe Heard Round the World. Since the throwing of the shoe was essentially a symbolic gesture, I think the punishment should have been equally symbolic. Personally I can’t support a three year prison sentence for an act that most Americans have thought about carrying out themselves at one time or another. Who hadn’t wanted to throw a shoe at Bush?

    It seems to me that he’s being punished, not for a tangible threat of bodily harm, but because he openly defied the status relationship between himself, a lowly Iraqi journalist, and the supposedly most powerful leader of the most powerful nation in the world.

    Is this radically different than the man who stood in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989? Only if your particular perspective on the event would have you rooting for the shoe thrower or against. Had Russia invaded Iraq and Putin been the one ducking the shoe, would not most Americans have rooted for the underdog?

    What he’s really being punished for is summing up the story of the Bush presidency with a shoe. The story that shoe tells is what history is more likely to remember rather than whatever Bush himself might have recorded.

    As long it’s just a shoe and not a shoe bomb, I say bravo to ALL the shoe throwers out there. Someone, after all, has to tell the truth to power. And there are few more potent ways to do it.

  104. 104 SATHIYAVANI
    March 17, 2009 at 18:57

    The action of the journalist is quite common for a patriotic youth who sounds against a capitalist leader. A leader must know his responsibility, unless he realizes and misuses the power, there’s nothing to wonder why shoes fall over them. let this be a lesson to all the leadrers misusing the power.

  105. 105 jr
    March 17, 2009 at 20:32

    I like to think that Muntadar al-Zaidi is one of the most courageous people I had heard of in quite some time, and the destruction of his shoes was a crime – not because someone was prepared to pay serious money to buy them – but because they ought to have gone into an Iraqi museum.

  106. 106 Shankari Manickam
    March 18, 2009 at 02:47

    No one can blame this man for his anger towards the person, who was the reason for the loss of thousands people in his country.

    Yet, assaulting the Head of State, is very disgraceful manner. He should definetly answer for his action.

    Yes! three years imprisonment sounds good.

  107. March 18, 2009 at 02:51

    When i see the pages of the history
    and try to fined answers of the question arising in my mind
    but find nothing.

    Weapon of mass destruction?
    no recovery,

    Restoration of democracy?
    still no democracy,unpopular set,

    no peace,bloodletting situation remaine stand,
    tens of thousand people has been killed,

    Role of allied forces?
    has not been admireable,heinous crimes were committed
    by them,they acted hatefull toward the Iraqi people,

    war, imposed by the United States has drifted it
    handred years back.

    In such circumstance,sould see the zaidi’s reaction,
    his conscious’s voice,
    sudden provocation ,he must be acquitted.

  108. 108 Jim Newman
    March 23, 2009 at 19:01

    Hello again
    The only thing I think is unjust is that it was only a shoe and he missed.

  109. April 6, 2009 at 04:52

    Muntadar al-Zaidi deserve an examplary punishment so that no one could dare to become an ICon OF PROTEST in this manner.He is not a lournalist but a terrorist of high order.He is a blot on the proffession of journalism .All thouse who condem hid punishment are prejudish and sympethiser of jehadees.

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