“Comedians are having a field day with the shoe assault on President Bush” in Iraq, said USA Today in an editorial, but it has a “serious aspect.” Iraqi TV journalist Muntander al-Zaidi’s “contemptuous act is a reminder that as important as it is to leave Iraq secure, many Iraqis will never see the United States as their liberator.”

Yet what Zaidi’s fate really proves, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial, is that Iraq has indeed been liberated. Sure, Zaidi could face jail time for trying to harm a foreign dignitary, but Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki should remind his people of how times have changed since the rule of Saddam Hussein by letting this troublemaker “walk free.”

Even if Zaidi “walks out in his stocking feet and becomes a hero to dead-enders,” said Ralph Peters in the New York Post, he has “unwittingly” done Bush a favor. By demonstrating that he could protest and not get executed for it, Zaidi showed that Bush, through his stubbornness, has “loosened the laces of Middle East tyranny.” Bush, in other words, has won.

Tell that to Iraqis in the streets, said the Los Angeles Times in an editorial. After the incident, thousands of demonstrators in Baghdad hailed Zaidi as a hero. “Tens of thousands of Iraqis have died in the five-and-a-half-year war, and anger about the U.S. occupation is widespread, even among those who view the presence of U.S. troops as a necessity to avoid further sectarian conflict.”