Because there is a shortage of grenades in Baghdad…

A bit early for this blog’s “Monday Morning Madness” series, and surely this will be only one among millions of blogs to carry this video, an event that was virtually made for blog consumption.

Is this evidence that there has been a drastic drop in the supply of hand grenades in Baghdad? Watch this poor journalist, forced to throw his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush during his surprise visit today to Iraq (also known as his trophy state):

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The way George W. Bush strings his words together makes more sense than he might have intended: “this doesn’t represent the Iraqi people because this is what happens in free societies.” You can say that again. Incidentally, has any American ever thrown something at President Bush during a public address? That might also be an interesting statement, if one were to be so generous as to take Bush at his word.

Of course we all know that beating something with shoes is a mark of serious contempt and scorn in Iraq, given that shoes are seen as dirty as the things they walk on. We saw Iraqis using shoes to beat up the toppled statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdous Square in Baghdad on April 9, 2003, an event staged by U.S. Marines. Five years later, this past April, one of the participants expressed his regrets:

Ibrahim Khalil, who five years ago took part in the iconic toppling of a giant statue of Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad, said on Wednesday he now regrets taking part in the hugely symbolic event.

“If history can take me back, I will kiss the statue of Saddam Hussein which I helped pull down,” Khalil told AFP on the fifth anniversary of the statue’s toppling.

Joking aside, this is but a small sample of the kind of anger and hatred that will follow Bush on his way out of the White House. One has to wonder about scores left unsettled, and if Bush will find himself walking in the same shoes as the late Anastasio Somoza Debayle, who like Bush also had a home in Paraguay, his final “resting place” so to speak.

One thing is certain: Bush has very quick reflexes and a much calmer disposition than I previously imagined. Al-Maliki, you fumbled the pitch.

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