Iraqi “shoe-thrower” sentenced

Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the 29-year old Iraqi reporter who threw not only one, but both of his shoes at President George W. Bush in December 2008 was sentenced today.  Al-Zeidi received three years in prison for the charge: assaulting a foreign leader.

For those of you who missed the massive coverage of the incident when it happened… you can see the incident in the youtube clip below:

Many people in Iraq (and the middle east as a whole) consider Al-Zeidi a hero worthy of accolades and not imprisonment, while many people in the United States and around the world consider this to be quite comical.  I am not of either camp.

Al-Zeidi insulted our U.S. President and could have actually hurt him pretty badly had either one of the hurled shoes connected with their intended target.  If his goal was to insult the President, he could have tossed his shoes onto the stage where Bush was positioned.  Instead, he threw them as hard as he could AT the President.  This was not just an insult.  This was an assault.  His 3 year punishment is gracious gift that he should accept with open arms, because it could have (and probably should have) been worse.

At the time of the incident Al-Zeidi exclaimed, “This is your farewell kiss, you dog! This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!” and during his trial he entered a plea of innocent (despite the entire world knowing that he was indeed the person who threw the shoes).

He had no remorse, and should have been punished.  Plain and simple.

Closing thoughts:

Had Al-Zeidi thrown a show at Saddam Hussein while he was still Iraq’s leader, what would have happened?  Al-Zeidi would have likely been taken outside and shot and killed on the spot.  That, or he would’ve been imprisoned and tortured for an indefinite period of time.

The mere fact that Al-Zeidi had the freedom to throw his shoe at a country’s leader, is a sign that the Iraqi people are indeed benefiting from the democracy that the Bush Administration exposed them to.

I hate to call people stupid or short-sighted, but if the only thing Al-Zeidi (and his supporters) take from this whole situation is that he’s a hero standing up for “the widows, the orphans,” and his Iraqi brethren who have died; then that’s just… well, stupid and short-sighted.  If they can’t see see the bigger picture of freedom (with laws to punish criminals such as himself), then perhaps the Iraqi’s shouldn’t have such freedom…  Perhaps America should step aside and allow Iraq to fall back into the hands of a vicious dictator…  Perhaps then Al-Zeidi would be happy? … or perhaps he’d be dead.

Freedom and Democracy should be cherished.  If these people do not cherish their new found freedom, they DO NOT deserve it.  If they are not willing to make sacrifices for freedom, they DO NOT deserve it. All throughout world history, we see examples of people fighting and sacrificing for freedom.  Freedom should be fought for… not against.

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