My comments on Mr Schaller's finger-pointing article are interspersed and identified with italics.
Monday, Dec. 15, 2008 10:46 EST
Lionizing the shoe thrower
"A rally was held in Baghdad in support of Muntadar al-Zaidi, the al-Baghdadiya TV reporter now in custody who threw his shoes at President Bush.
"As you surely heard by now, al-Zaidi threw first one shoe and then the other at Bush during a press conference Sunday. He shouted, "This is a farewell kiss, you dog. This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."
"Look: Bush has wreaked havoc on Iraq. Death, dismemberment, disfiguring, displacement and political disarray are all part of his tragic legacy. Al-Zaidi has many legitimate reasons to be angry.
OK, get ready -- here comes the windup for the punkout --
"But his actions and the subsequent lionizing of him are not helpful. If anything, the incident created sympathy for Bush (myself included, yes) who is on his way out the door and doesn't deserve it.
---Are you kidding???Sympathy? Poor little Georgie W Bush is a monster with no conscience at all.. oh yeah, we all have lots of sympathy for the man who says, after authorizing mass murder for 8 years, that he didn't have anything to do with it -- and out the door? Looks more he's making a getaway -- memos have established the fact that he personally authorized torture of the people they SAY are enemy combatants -- declaring that the Geneva Conventions didn't apply -- this falls under the aegis of the Yamashita Principle, the precedent established by Dugout Doug MacArthur that says he can be tried for crimes against humanity and if convicted (HERE's my sympathy for W, since it would be easier to find an objective jury for a trial in which O.J. and Saddam Hussein are co-defendants) -- IF convicted, hang him.
"- all so that one television journalist, acting unprofessionally, can draw attention to himself. And don't say he did it to draw attention to the plight of Iraqi widows and orphans. Americans, and the world, know what's going on in Iraq, even if some prefer to ignore it.
---Yeah. living in the middle of chaos and destruction where anyone who actually has a job has no idea if his wife, children, or house itself will be there, or if the Blackwater mercs have gunned them down, he couldn't possibly have issues with the war itself.. and really Thomas -- neither most Americans nor the world in general (except the French and Germans and Russians who opposed our Yahoo-in-Chief's adventurist insanity because they saw what it was really like during WWII) none has the merest idea of what that thing that Schaller and his ilk speak so casually of -- does everyone know the smell of blood or what it sounds like when a living human being is instantly reduced to garbage -- screaming with last breath, or how loud artillery actually is, so loud you can't hear YOURSELF scream.. certainly neither Bush nor Cheney knows anything about it, but Schaller assumes this guy is out only for himself) But back to the man who knows everything:
"If he wanted to be a political agitator, al-Zaidi could have quit his job and joined the ranks of the political protesters. Or he could have used the power of the media to opine.
---this is pure 60's corporate BS -- I remember the suits saying why don't you quit your job so you can protest full time? You know people would listen to you more if you cut your hair and dressed up. Well hell, Tommy Boy -- perhaps you might try to remember the story about Emerson visiting Thoreau in jail (for civil disobedience and protest) and Emerson saying, chidingly "Why Henry, what are you doing in there?" And Thoreau, looking at the man who had influenced him tremendously, and this having been an act of conscience said "Why Waldo -- what are you doing out there?" And not taking a stand against a discernible wrong)
So "Mr Schaller, areYOU saying you feel that mass murder isn't an adequate motivation to stop pontificating about other people's motive and actually say something meaningful?"
"Sure, he got our attention. But Bush cleverly turned that attention into an opportunity to reiterate a point he's made before about how political expression is now possible in ways it was not previously -- which, while true and not without meaning, does little to reduce the real-life effects of all that death, dismemberment, disfiguring, displacement and disarray.
"Further developments and reflections:
"It is not surprising that al-Zaidi is being hailed as a hero in the Arab world. (And, presumably, much of the Muslim world, too.) But, I'm sorry, American journalists and commentators should not be joining the chorus.
Thanks for telling us how we should view that event, i.e., "Are you going to believe your own lying eyes and ears and mind or trust me and think what I tell you to think."
"In a column entitled "A Hero of Our Time: Muntadar al-Zaidi" (and the teaser super-headline of "Finally, A Journalist We Can Look Up To!"), Counterpunch's Dave Lindorff opens with this:
When Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi heaved his two shoes at the head of President George W. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad, he did something that the White House press corps should have done years ago.
And he's right, they should have, and if they did, if they had, the cheers from coast to coast would have been so loud as to collapse buildings.
"Is he joking? Would he say the same thing if an American journalist heaved something at the head of state of some undemocratic regime that engaged in human rights abuses on its own people?
And if that foreign leader's army had invaded America and we were attending the press conference surrounded by foreign troops with automatic weapons? Goddamn right he would.
"Perhaps I missed something one of them wrote, but a quick check of some of the top liberal bloggers -- none of whom are inclined to dial back their criticisms of Bush -- reveals that none have championed what al-Zaidi did. They may have said the video deserves watching; it does, maybe a few times, because let's face it, there is something naturally funny about a shoe being thrown, twice no less, at any president or head of state. But I didn't see anything from Kos, Atrios, Digby, or John Amato in the way of cheerleading for this guy. (Commenters on these sites do not count, natch.)
I don't like Bush. He's been terrible. January 20th cannot arrive fast enough. Our reputation around the globe will take decades to repair. But when somebody throws a shoe at the president, even a horrible and incompetent and insecure president who covers for his insecurities by being horribly incompetent, that person is throwing a shoe at my head and yours, too.
(Maybe your head, not mine. The man who stole two elections and lied and lied in order to start an act of national murder is not MY president -- at first some people pointed that the real reason we invaded was connected to the Banco Lavoro scandle, and Saddam had so many documents addressing the kickbacks of BILLIONS he gave to George HW Bush during the Iran-Iraq war, and he was getting senile, and his two sons, Bozo and Mumu, were planning to making them public)
"And, again, it just lends sympathy and credibility to a president and administration that deserve neither, especially on the issue of Iraq.
(So you're saying "Awww, it was just good clean fun. Those 500,000 dead, many of them kids under 12 who died of dysentery just can't take a joke.")
"As for the lionizing of the TV reporter in the Arab and/or Muslim world, I'm not sure what to make of that. On the one hand, I can understand the frustration. If I had a chance to be close to somebody who caused friends or family members to be killed or injured, I'd want to do more than heave a shoe or two. And I'm all for al-Zaidi being released, without harm, as quickly as possible, because it's the right thing to do generally and also politically, so as not to turn him into a martyr.
But the shoe-bombing by this television journalist was just plain stupid."
Right. Hey Schaller -- if hypocrisy was gold, you'd be one incredibly rich fellow.