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Most Iraqis Lionize Shoe-Thrower

A Baghdad-based artist commemorated the act with a monument, but an Iraqi court today was decidedly less impressed with Muntadhar al-Zeidi for throwing his shoes at then-President George W. Bush in December, sentencing the Iraqi journalist to three years in prison.

It's a decision that is unlikely to go over well with the Iraqi public: A new ABC-BBC-NHK of 2,228 Iraqis found widespread support for al-Zeidi. Overall, 62 percent said he is a hero for echoing the views of many Iraqis; 24 percent referred to him as a criminal for attacking a visiting head of state.

As on many topics in the country, opinions fray along sectarian and ethnic lines: 84 percent of Sunni Arabs said al-Zeidi is a hero, that number drops to 56 among Shiites and all the way to 38 percent among Kurds.

More from the poll will be available on Monday.

By Jon Cohen  |  March 12, 2009; 6:21 AM ET
Categories:  Polls  
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He is guilty, of course, but should receive a pardon. We should put this behind us.

Posted by: rabbit3 | March 12, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Although "hero" is a tad overstated, intelligent Americans of course also support this guy. Iraq is still new at this democracy stuff; it's too bad that they didn't have time to figure out jury nullification before Mr. al-Zeidi's trial. Or juries, for that matter... anyway, let's hope they figure out parole before he laguishes too long behind bars. A "natural reaction to the occupation" it certainly was.

Posted by: -Mason- | March 12, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

What a shame. This guy is a hero. He has guts. He managed to attempt to do what the whole WORLD wanted to do. The whole WORLD hates this war-criminal, and everybody knows it. He needs to be tried for war-crimes and executed just like Hussein.

Posted by: kogejoe | March 12, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

i certainly think he's a hero, and i know many people who would love to throw something at that man. he cause so much death and destruction, how can he live with himself. unfortunately for the rest of the world,his kind can always live with themselves,(see cheney) the worst of the gun-toting lot. they will NEVER take responsibility for their ill thought out decisions.i sincerly hope the shoe thrower gets a pardon. and i will bet you when this prez goes anywhere, he will be greeted as hero, but then any one would be after this last tyrant.

Posted by: ninnafaye | March 12, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't see him as a hero,but certainly don't see him as a criminal other. He was brave enough to show Bush what the average Iraqi thinks of the fantastically mis-managed, illegal Bush intervention in Iraq. Bush should be on trial as a war criminal, along with all the other US government employees that tortured human beings. Being ordered to torture does not absolve one of responsibility, as so nobly proved in the Nurenburg trials.

Posted by: josetucson | March 12, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I would have used a pair of brogans. They fly truer because they're heavier.

Posted by: dotyr | March 12, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh look, the new Iraqi government is defending poor President Bush from the scary menace of shoe-throwing journalists who are upset because Bush's bravado and incompetence resulted in their relatives' untimely death. Long live democracy. Laura will be so pleased.
Bush was not even hurt. At all. This guy was beaten. If Bush doesn't ask for a pardon, he's a wimp.
The worst that you could say about this is that it was a spontaneous crime of passion, with no ill consequences.
President Obama should denounce this sentence.

Posted by: live2ambush | March 12, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations. You threw a shoe at the guy that enabled you to be free enough to throw a shoe when you are not happy with your government. You're welcome. (Idiot)

Posted by: warftr5 | March 12, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"You're welcome. (Idiot)"

This poll proves, for the umpteenth time, that the war's advocates lie when they claim Iraqis appreciate being invaded and seeing their families killed.

Even Shiites, who have gone from being the underclass of Iraq to being its rulers, mostly approve of al-Zeidi's shoe-throwing.

So you can forget your BS about an Arab democracy in the Middle East that's friendly to America. The more democratic Iraq is, the more unfriendly to America it will be.

Posted by: bourassa1 | March 12, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

"Congratulations. You threw a shoe at the guy that enabled you to be free enough to throw a shoe when you are not happy with your government. You're welcome. (Idiot)"
He's not free. He's going to jail.

Posted by: live2ambush | March 12, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Shame this guy was a reporter and not an ax juggler....

Posted by: justhere | March 12, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

He did what I wish I could have done. Too bad he didn't use steel toed loafers and ping that arrogant sob.

Posted by: waxtraxs | March 12, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

It was a crass and stupid act. Exactly something that would celebrated by the Left in this country.

Bush should petition for early release after 6 months. Let the guy learn a lesson that assault is not tolerated, and let Bush come across as the bigger man.

Posted by: bug45 | March 12, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I can't stand Bush. Can't stand him, thrilled that he's gone. But it doesn't mean that I feel people should be allowed to assault him. The Iraqi journalist could have expressed his freedom of speech by standing up and yelling at bush, or by picketing the meeting, or by engaging in another form of protest. But the fact that he (rightly) disapproves of Bush's policies in Iraq doesn't give him the right to assault anyone, much less a head of state. I can't condone giving people a free pass to assault heads of state -- a potentially serious security situation -- because I agree with the assaulter's politics more than the assaultee's.

Posted by: akumin | March 12, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Three years seems very harsh for throwing a couple of shoes. It should have been time served.

Posted by: bschratwieser | March 12, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

"Intelligent Americans" understand that the guy was trying to injure a foreign head of state and should be punished for it, not let off. Although I think it was stupid and arrogant for Columbia to allow Ahmadinejad an American forum (but not before insulting him beforehand), the students there had enough class not to try and hurt the guy, even if they thought he was a schmuck. This is not to say that I'd ever equate Bush with the Iranian president, but some Iraqis (especially minority Sunnis) dislike Bush much like Americans dislike Ahmadinejad.

Plus, what kind of precedent would it set if this individual weren't punished? Three years for attempted assault? Not so bad.

Posted by: dschrad2 | March 12, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

After reading the first 10 or so comments I was highly disappointed with left-leaning folk who read this article.

Then I came to akumin's response. Finally, a post from someone on the left or right who is not so caught up in their own ideology that they lose sight of what is fair-minded and decent.

I would be ashamed if one of our journalists attacked a foreign head of state just because we don't like him/her. Even if it were the likes of Kim Jong Il, Fidel, or Robert Mugabe, who are all proven murderers. Shoe-throwing and assault do not bring justice.

Lastly, this is not a freedom of speech issue, and anyone who says so is an idiot (how about that for freedom of speech). This is an assault issue, and on the head of our government no less. Think clearly people.

Posted by: delt452 | March 12, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree with bschratwieser. Three years for two shoes is ridiculous. Time served sounds like justice to me.

By the way, on the site,
more than eighty-nine million virtual shoes have hit Bush's image since the site went up.

Posted by: dotellen | March 12, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

if you want to act, let me know your options. here are two:


and al-maliki's party

Posted by: lukiwa | March 12, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Bush should get the three years.

Posted by: nazcalito | March 13, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Every one I know around here - Australia - think he deserves a medal too! Personally, I think the fellow showed great restraint, if it had been my country that had been blown to bits I'd have gone for the old shoe-bomb trick - obviously he is no terrorist, and. hasn't got as bad a temper as me either.
Unless he does his time in an American "facility" I expect he'll do his time easy anyway.

Posted by: icurhuman2 | March 13, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Instead of throwing a shoe at him, we need to throw the book at him. We are bound by national and international law to prosecute crimes against humanity, and to not do so would make us complicit in said crimes.

This is the fastest way to restoring America's image and authority around the world.

Posted by: eddieo1 | March 13, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Bush should get the three years.

Posted by: nazcalito | March 13, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Osama Bin Laden killed 3000 americans and did 200 billion dollars damage.
George Bush got 4000 americans killed by a war based
on lies and did trillions of dollars damage to the U.S.
Osama should send Bush a thank you note with mission accomplished on it for helping Osama kill Americans and do massive financial damage to the country.

Posted by: p_komisky | March 15, 2009 6:24 AM | Report abuse

Bush needs to be slapped around the way his mom smacked him around when he was a juvenile punk. He's just an adult punk now, and he will get his, someway, somehow, sooner or later.

I won't shed a tear, except for joy, when that day does arrive. Arrive it will, too.

Posted by: jfern03 | March 16, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

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