Iraqi shoe-thrower captures Mideast rage at Bush


BEIRUT (Reuters) - The hurling of shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush on his farewell visit to Iraq strikes many in the Middle East as a fittingly furious comment on what they see as his calamitous legacy in the region.

Arab and Iranian TV stations have gleefully replayed the clip, sometimes in slow motion, of an Iraqi reporter calling Bush a "dog" and throwing his shoes at him -- the Middle East's tastiest insults -- at a Baghdad news conference on Sunday.

The affront was a twisted echo of the triumphal moment for Bush when joyous Iraqis used their footwear to beat a statue of Saddam Hussein toppled by U.S. invading troops in 2003.

"It indicates how much antagonism he's been able to create in the whole region," former Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher told Reuters, adding that the incident was regrettable.

Bush had harmed America's reputation and the friendship many had felt for it. "Despite past mistakes in its policies, there was always a redeeming factor. In this particular case, there doesn't seem to have ever been a redeeming factor," Maher said.

Muntazer al-Zaidi, who works for independent al-Baghdadiya television, has shot to local stardom for his attack on Bush and his cry: "This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog."

He has also won instant fame abroad -- a poem on an Islamist website praises him as "a hero with a lion's heart" -- although the Iraqi government slated his "barbaric and ignominious act."

Zaidi's crude public display of disdain for an incumbent U.S. president hit a chord with many in the Middle East.

"The Iraqi journalist is a true and free Baghdadi," said a Saudi private sector employee who gave his name as Abu Faisal. "He was brave and did us proud. Bush destroyed (Iraq) so surely he deserved to be beaten with a shoe."

Khalid al-Dakhil, a Saudi university lecturer in social politics, said the incident summed up Bush's impact on the Middle East, which "will haunt this region for a long time."

Dakhil, who said Bush had committed war crimes in Iraq after launching a war based on "lies" that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction, nevertheless fretted about the shoe-throwing.

"While understandable, it wasn't the most sophisticated and constructive way to express one's anger at Bush, especially coming from an educated Arab journalist. It reinforces the stereotype ideas in the Western world about Arabs."

Some Palestinians, whose hopes of independent statehood have withered in the eight-year Bush era, relished the moment.

"A shoe company in Hebron claimed the attack on Bush and they will give the attacker shoes all his life," runs one joke being exchanged on mobile telephones in the Gaza Strip.

"LEGACY OF DISGRACE"

In Iran, under U.S. pressure over its nuclear program, ordinary people had no good words for the outgoing president.

"He left a legacy of disgrace for America. His name will certainly go down in history and be remembered for all bad things for ever," said pensioner Assadollah Ghorbani, 67.

Parviz Alousi, 59, a former Iranian industry ministry employee, said the Bush had only created problems for the world, which "because of his ego" he had sought to dominate.

Some political analysts in Lebanon took an equally scathing view of Bush's policy record in the region.

"To say disaster is an under-statement. The best thing he can do is exit the White House," said Hilal Khashan, political science professor at the American University of Beirut. "I can't remember a lower point in U.S. prestige abroad."

Arabs have long fumed at American support for Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians, but Bush's war in Iraq created a new source of anger and instability in the Middle East.

"It's a sore, open and bleeding wound, just as the Palestine issue is," said Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, an expert on Hezbollah.

The Iraqi shoe-thrower had found a far more telling protest than raising a banner or poster showing war victims, she argued.

"It's a sign of empowerment. He was saying not only that your (Bush's) legacy is one of disgrace, not only do we see you as lowly, but that we can overpower and defeat you."

Mohammed al-Masri, a researcher at Jordan University's Center for Strategic Studies, saw the vignette as iconic.

"Arabs will always remember the shoes hurled at Bush as symbolizing their deep frustration with his failed policies."

The insult to Bush also embarrassed Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who was standing beside him at the time.

They were marking the recent passage of a security pact that calls for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011 -- a major challenge awaiting President-elect Barack Obama.

Many in the Middle East are pinning hopes on the next U.S. president, despite past disappointments.

"Any change appears welcome because we had reached the bottom," said Maher, Egypt's former foreign minister.

Copyright 2008 Reuters. click for restrictions

An Afghan interpreter who helped save then-Sen. Joe Biden's life in 2008 was among those stranded in Afghanistan after Biden's troop withdrawal. He has now escaped the country with his family, but not with President Biden's help.

Thanks to private organizations, including The Nazarene Fund, the interpreter and his family have now been rescued.

Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn Beck share the details:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

A shocking new report by The Daily Wire reveals that the furious father whose arrest at a school board meeting likely sparked the call for the FBI to investigate anti-CRT parents like domestic terrorists was furious for good reasons: The Loudoun County School Board allegedly tried to cover up his daughter's rape.

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to discuss the incident and explain why he joined 60 lawmakers in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding answers for why the FBI is targeting parents.

"We want to know ... what kind of coordination took place between the White House, activist groups and teachers unions, and the Department of Justice," Stewart told Glenn. "Because we have evidence that there was [coordination] and, in fact, that the White House are the ones who initiated this. They asked for these activist groups to write this inflammatory letter to the Department of Justice saying they were 'intimidated' and that they 'felt threatened', giving the Department of Justice Attorney General Garland, the excuse to say, 'Okay, well, we have to respond'."

Stewart went on to say he believes the federal government would only involve the FBI in such an issue if its purpose is to silence and intimidate parents concerned about the "poison" being taught to their kids in school. So, what can he and the other representatives who disagree with the Biden administration's overreach of power do to stop it?

Watch the video clip below to hear Stewart explain:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu is now warning that his nation is preparing for war with China after Beijing flew a record number of warplanes over Taiwanese territory. Wu reached out to another country for help, but it wasn't the United States.

In a video, Wu urged Australia to help prepare for a possible invasion, but gave the U.S. no mention.

"The defense of Taiwan is in our own hands, and we are absolutely committed to that. And if China is going to launch a war against Taiwan, we will fight until the end. And that is our commitment. And, of course, during this period of time, we would like to exchange with other countries for security cooperation," Wu said on ABC News In-depth's China Tonight program. "We would like to engage in security or intelligence exchanges with other like-minded partners, Australia included, so that Taiwan is better prepared to deal with the war situation. And so far, our relations with Australia is very good. And that is what we appreciate it for."

On "The Glenn Beck Program," Glenn, Pat Gray, and Stu Burguiere discussed whether or not America would do anything during such a conflict — because it sure seems like President Joe Biden is more focused on working with China to fight climate change. Plus, why did China just cut off all cryptocurrency?

Watch the video clip below to catch the conversation:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

On "Glenn TV" tonight, Glenn Beck heads to the chalkboard to reveal how the fundamental transformation of America has already begun by turning the Declaration of Independence upside down.

If Donald Trump was a dictator, then what do we call President Biden? In Biden's first nine months in office, he has already issued 64 executive orders – that's more than Trump, Obama, W. Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Reagan each issued in their entire first years in office.

You never hear the Left talk about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights any more, unless it's to "reimagine" the Constitution or slap a "harmful content" warning on our founding documents. Seriously. The National Archives said while its website label wasn't targeting the Constitution specifically, "some of the materials presented here may reflect outdated, biased, offensive, and possibly violent views and opinions." The Left finds basic, guaranteed rights so offensive they now spend all of their time on workarounds to deal with America's annoying founding documents.

Watch the full episode of "Glenn TV" below to see Glenn outline the aggressive unconstitutional abuses "King Biden" is jamming down our throats and teaches Americans how we can defend against presidential tyranny.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.