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Punishing Iraq's shoe thrower
Is three years in prison just punishment for the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George W. Bush?
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t looks as if George W. Bush gets the last laugh on Muntadhar al-Zaidi, said Boston Herald columnist Jules Crittenden in his blog. An Iraqi court has sentenced al-Zaidi to three years in prison for throwing his shoes at Bush during a farewell news conference in Baghdad last year. Good—this is just "more evidence of stability and progress in Iraq," where acts of violence are prosecuted without "political excuse-making."

Al-Zaidi may have lost this round in court, said Jon Cohen in The Washington Post, but he's a winner in the eyes of his people. In a new ABC-BBC-NHK poll, 62 percent of Iraqis said al-Zaidi is a hero for echoing their criticism of Bush and the deaths of Iraqi civilians. Only 24 percent of those polled said al-Zaidi was a criminal for attacking a visiting head of state.

Nobody's really right in this case, said Salam Pax in Britain's The Guardian. Three years is too harsh a sentence for al-Zaidi's offense. As an Iraqi citizen, al-Zaidi "expressed eloquently with that shoe what many of us felt about Bush and his war," but he acted while wearing a reporter's hat, which did serious damage to the cause of independent journalism in a country that sorely needs it.

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