Bush will probably have to pardon Rumsfeld and Cheney – so how about adding shoe-thrower Muntazar al-Zaidi to the list?
guardian.co.uk, Friday 19 December 2008
"Hey! Congratulations on the way you dodged those shoes! You made it look so easy – like you'd being dodging stuff all your life! And that smart remark likening the incident to "driving down the street and having people not gesturing with all five fingers" – whatever it meant it sounded cool, man! Fantastic!
But I'm a bit worried about what's happened since. Muntazar al-Zaidi has become a bit of a hero – with all those rallies in Sadr city and Fallujah, with people marching around holding up their shoes like the crowd scenes in Monty Python's Life of Brian. And the longer he stays in custody of the Iraqi police the more of a martyr he is likely to appear. His brother, Dargham, says he's already had his hand and several ribs broken, and is suffering from internal bleeding and has an eye injury. And some say he's liable to seven years imprisonment (some even say 15), but as long as he remains being beaten up in prison he's liable to be seen as a martyr.
So would it would it be OK for me to offer you a little bit of advice, Mr President? You know it's customary for US presidents on their last day of office to issue a slew of pardons, so why not pardon Zaidi as you go – you know, just to undermine his position as hero/martyr of the Muslim world.
Now, I know he's officially in the hands of the Iraqi police, but you and I and the rest of the world knows that Nouri al-Maliki will do more or less whatever you like and he's bound to take a lenient view, if you do.......
And while I'm thinking about it, it might be advisable to pardon yourself before you leave office for any possible war crimes, such as your involvement in killing and maiming over a million Iraqi civilians over the last few years, destroying their country's infrastructure, destabilising the place and creating chaos in the Middle East.
If Zaidi gets 15 years for throwing his shoes at you, Mr President, there could be problems getting away with all that. Best to pardon him, as well as Cheney, Rumsfeld and yourself, and get it over with.
What d'you say?"