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Regarding the Iraqi Shoe Hurler, Bush, and the New York Times

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Re: "In Iraqi's Shoe-Hurling Protest, Arabs Find a Hero. (It's Not Bush)" (front page, Dec. 16):

When Iraqi journalist Muntada al-Zaidi threw his shoes at George W. Bush, the latter, your reporters write, "brushed it off as an expression of democracy."

While that paraphrase suggests a certain lofty tolerance of dissent, Mr. Bush's actual words betrayed a rather different attitude: "That's what people do in a free society, draw attention to themselves." Thus the president cast Mr. Al-Zaidi's gesture in particular, and all protest in general, as mere exhibitionism.

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For his outburst, meanwhile, Mr. al-Zaidi was severely punished by Iraqi security agents, who kicked and beat him until "he was crying like a woman," according to another journalist. He is still being held in military custody.

That certainly is not "what people do in a free society." And to say so is a fundamental civic obligation, not a way of showing off.

Mark Crispin Miller
New York University
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Mark's new book, Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008, a collection 14 essays on Bush/Cheney's election fraud since (and including) 2000, is just out, from Ig Publishing. He is also the author of Fooled Again: The Real Case for Electoral Reform, which is now out in paperback (more...)

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