You know, even some Americans *cough* have reacted with amusement at the shoe throwing incident. Bush turned the shoe incident into a serious of puns, saying that he’d “seen the man’s sole” for example, and lauded the incident as a moment in democracy, in effect, that people in a democracy are able to politically express themselves in anger and that’s something that, in light of war, can be celebrated. The president trusts Iraq leadership so much, in fact, that they are leaving the punishment of the reporter who threw the shoes up to the Iraqi government.
A White House spokeswoman said Tuesday that Iraqi leaders are the ones to decide whether punishment is appropriate for the Iraqi journalist who stunned observers by hurling two shoes at President George W. Bush from close range.
“The president believes that Iraq is a sovereign country, a democratic country, and they will have a process that they follow on this,” White House press secretary Dana Perino told reporters. “The president harbors no hard feelings about the incident.”
Which is great. Except that the reporter is reportedly being held at a US-run prison, Camp Cropper, and shows signs of torture. (This wouldn’t be the first time reporter Muntadar al-Zaidi has been beaten — he was reportedly kidnapped and interrogated in late-2007.)
I’m quite with Digby right here:
I actually thought Bush handled this thing quite well. He was literally quick on his feet and didn’t take it too seriously. (I thought the “I saw into his sole” thing was particularly good.) He could do a great thing right now by making a public appeal to the Iraqis to pardon this man. It would be magnanimous and do his personal reputation a world of good — and it would be good for both countries.
If you’re so inclined, you can contact the White House and politely ask them to support clemency for al-Zaidi.