President Bush, Please Publicly Forgive Muntader al-Zeidi
Over the past several years I've said a lot of things about President George W. Bush, few of them publishable anywhere except online, and even by blog-standards I've, um, pushed the envelope. So maybe I'm the wrong person to be calling for this. But I'm going to anyhow.
Mr. President, please publicly forgive Muntadhar al-Zeidi for throwing shoes at you, and please state, unequivocally, that the Iraqi journalist should not face charges or endure official harassment for his actions. If American values mean anything at all, this is the right thing to do.
According to press reports, al-Zeidi is currently being held by the Iraqi government in an undisclosed location. He faces quite serious, if as yet unspecified charges:
An Iraqi lawyer said Zaidi risked a miminum [sic] of two years in prison if he is prosecuted for insulting a visiting head of state, but could face a 15-year term if he is charged with attempted murder.
In the United States, "insulting a visiting head of state" is not a crime. Nor should it be. Throwing a shoe could certainly be illegal, and hustling a shoe-thrower out of a press conference would certainly be understandable. But pressing charges?