“So much for victory laps,” said Thomas Defrank in the New York Daily News. During President Bush’s farewell visit to Iraq on Sunday, an Iraqi journalist hurled his shoes at him, saying, “This is a farewell kiss, you dog!” (click here for MSNBC video via Think Progress). Bush tried to laugh off the insult—“quickly dubbed a shoe-icide attack”—but it “was an unwelcome metaphor for a president whose legacy in large measure will be defined by the unpopular war, now in its sixth year.”
This incident was indeed symbolic, said Boston Herald editor Jules Crittenden in his blog. You see, nobody ever dared show such disrespect for Saddam Hussein, whose despotic regime Bush toppled. The only reason this unhinged journalist was able to show such violent disrespect to a visiting dignitary and live to tell about it is that Iraq is now a democracy.
It’s hard to deny, though, that this was more than a little embarrassing for Bush, said Sudarsan Raghavan and Dan Eggen in The Washington Post. The shoes started flying just after he explained why, despite all the difficulties, the war was necessary for “world peace.” But hurling shoes and calling someone a dog are about the worst insults possible in Iraqi culture, so the lingering image from what’s likely to be Bush’s final visit to Iraq will be this raucous display of “local resentment” over civilian deaths and American mistakes.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- This is what happens when Republicans actually enact their radical agenda
- How I dug myself out of debt — and stayed that way
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- America is doomed! (And other thoughts on our gloomy historical moment.)
- Your 2-year-old doesn't need to go to school
- 11 weeknight dinners you can make without a recipe
Subscribe to the Week