Iraqi Shoe Thrower Should Get Significant Jail Time

David Esrati today wrote an article “Maybe we should learn to throw shoes,” in which he pooh poohed the flying shoe assault on George Bush by the irate Iraqi journalist. Esrati wrote, “If someone threw their shoes at me- would it end up in court? I doubt it. At some point, we have to realize, that heads of state aren’t gods- and the punishment shouldn’t be any longer than it would be if it happened to you or me.”

Esrati compares the shoe throwing assault to his own act of defiance of wearing a mask to a city commission meeting: “Symbolic speech without great harm. Much like wearing a mask to a city commission meeting, however this one was better understood.”

Wow. Looking around the web, it looks like a lot of irate bloggers basically agree with Esrati’s thinking.

If someone in the near future would hurl a shoe at Barack Obama while at the same time shouting the most vile epithet possible — ”You dog” — I hardly think that Esrati, or other blogging cheerleaders for the Iraqi shoe thrower, would have the same reaction. Regardless of the contempt anyone has for Bush as a person, or contempt for Bush’s policies, no-one has a right to assault any US president.

The president of the United States is distinguished by our laws and traditions with special rights and protections. After all, within the presidency resides the entire Executive branch of our government. This unique identification of this office with our government, doesn’t make the president a god, but it does mean that unique laws / traditions have been agreed to concerning the respect that should be shown toward the office of the president. Regardless of the contempt that Bush has earned personally, the office he holds deserves respect. A threat or an affront to our president is a threat and affront to us all.

This shoe throwing act, according to our laws — should it happen at a White House press conference — would not be considered simply as as affront or threat to George Bush as a person, it would be seen as threat and affront to the office of the president. Our laws would put such a shoe thrower in jail. I imagine every democratic nation has unique laws to protect the dignity and safety of its head of state.

Our laws and traditions see an assault on the president as quite different from an assault on Esrati, or on any private citizen. The idea that a head of state, as representative of a nation, deserves special laws and protections is a well established notion. If some American idiot would hurl shoes, or rocks, or rotten fruit at, say, a visiting French president, I would hope that American justice would assure that such an idiot would be punished with significant jail time.

The assault on our president is a serious matter. Bush showed good sense in downplaying the whole incident, but Iraq should mete out justice to this shoe throwing moron in a manner in keeping with what other established democracies would do. Iraq should give this shoe thrower significant jail time.

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5 Responses to Iraqi Shoe Thrower Should Get Significant Jail Time

  1. Bud says:

    I have no problem with people throwing shoes at the President…as long as law enforcement can shoot back.

    Same goes for wearing masks at commission meetings.

  2. I’m not happy that someone through shoes at our president. But come on, serious jail time. A few points. First, Bock writes, “If someone in the near future would hurl a shoe at Barack Obama while at the same time shouting the most vile epithet possible — ”You dog” — I hardly think that Esrati, or other blogging cheerleaders for the Iraqi shoe thrower, would have the same reaction.” You dog,” the most vile epithet? Really? Second, Bock talks about the special protections awarded the president in the U.S., what would occur if this happened at the White House, I believe Mr Bock is aware that this happened in Iraq and not at the White House, our laws and special considerations do not apply. I believe based on Iraqi law, he should face some consequences. But not serious jail time for insulting someone with words and throwing a non-lethal weapon to signify disrespect.

  3. Stan Hirtle says:

    The place to throw shoes at Bush is at the ballot box, which is eventually what happened, as McCain was unable or unwilling to distance himself enough from Bush. Of course you can’t have a political system where people throw things at each other. Although shoes are harmless they soon turn into rocks and then bombs. Bombs are what Bush threw at Iraq, and an estimated million Iraqis were killed and millions more were displaced. Mostly here we throw insults at leaders in the media and the internet. Anyway the fact that the guy who threw the shoes is a hero in Iraq says it all. Bush supporters point out that Saddam would have killed any Iraqi who threw shoes at him. Probably so. But it was still not the US role to invade Iraq and occupy it even if the only reasons were to get rid of an evil dictator instead of to get oil, show the post 9/11 world our military prowess, or do whatever good neocons thought would happen in the middle east. That doesn’t work and it didn’t work for Bush. It just made people angry at him and at us for electing him and going along with him.

  4. Terrell says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful response to the great footwear confrontation.

    I have very little respect for George W. Bush, personally or for his conduct of the executive authority for the last eight years. No individual in my lifetime has caused greater harm to the spirit of our country than this little man.

    Enemies may kill people, tear down buildings, malign our traditions, reject or ridicule our principles, or throw things at our president, but only we ourselves can destroy those traditions and principles. Whenever we sink to the level of the terrorists — even to the degree of approving this very mild form of terror – we do damage to the principles that underly our democracy.

    If we condone the throwing of shoes at Bush, aren’t we sliding down the slippery slope behind Bush and Gonzales and Rumsfeld and others who suspended American principles in a more obvious way?

  5. Vern M. says:

    Whatever he actually ends up getting, I can certainly understand why he was angry enough to do something like that. He’s probably in the majority in Iraq with that sentiment against Bush, considering that he treated their country like a test firing range for his flawed policies. I think he should be released on the Iraqi equivalent of a bail bond and be given probation because his crime was minor and in the heat of his strong beliefs.

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