President Bush finally found the long-missing Weapons of Mass Humiliation in Iraq. Iraqis, millions of them, are wearing them on their feet. Not exactly WMDs, but WMHs will have to do.
Unfortunately, Bush discovered the WMHs when a pair of them sailed past his head at a press conference in Baghdad. The hurler, Muntader al-Zaidi, is already a hero in Iraq, and beyond.
I hope I don’t get in trouble with the Secret Service by saying that I, too, found satisfaction in the display of anger toward Bush, whose reckless war costs hundreds of thousands of lives and destroyed an entire nation. What Zaidi did was to put an exclamation point on Bush’s war, fittingly — and, given the fact that the smoothly bipartisan, rancorless Barack Obama isn’t likely to investigate the crimes of the Bush adminstration in Iraq, it might be all we get before Bush rides off into the Texas sunset.
Sunnis and Shiites, both, and Arabs across the region celebrated Zaidi’s act of courage. Reports the Times:
In [Shiite] Sadr City, the sprawling Baghdad suburb that has seen some of the most intense fighting between insurgents and American soldiers since the 2003 invasion, thousands of people marched in his defense. In Syria, he was hailed as a hero. In Libya, he was given an award for courage. …
In Samarra, one of the centers of the Sunni insurgency against American forces, Mr. Zaidi received nearly unanimous approval from people interviewed Monday.
The family of the shoe-hurler, according to AP, said that Zaidi (himself a Shiite) was opposed both to the United States and to Iran’s heavy-handed role in Iraq:
Over time, Muntadhar al-Zeidi, a 28-year-old unmarried Shiite, came to hate both the U.S. military occupation and Iran’s interference in Iraq, his family told The Associated Press on Monday.
Family members expressed bewilderment over al-Zeidi’s action and concern about his treatment in Iraqi custody. But they also expressed pride over his defiance of an American president who many Iraqis believe has destroyed their country.
“I swear to Allah, he is a hero,” said his sister, who goes by the nickname Umm Firas.
Thousands of people, in Sadr City, in Najaf, and in Sunni areas demonstrated their support for Zaidi.
Raed Jarrar, the Iraqi bogger and activist in the United States, has started a petition to free him. You can read Jarrar’s commentary here.
According to AP, Zaidi’s act of defiance is being hailed across the region:
Images of Bush ducking the fast-flying shoes at a Baghdad press conference, aired repeatedly on Arab satellite TV networks, were cathartic for many in the Middle East, who have for years felt their own leaders kowtow to the American president.
So the sight of an average Arab standing up and making a public show of resentment was stunning. The pride, joy and bitterness it uncorked showed how many Arabs place their anger on Bush personally for what they see as a litany of crimes — chief among them the turmoil in Iraq and tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths since the 2003 U.S. invasion