Don't Let the Shoe Hit You on the Way Out


please please please let there be video of this. please.
I vaguely recall something about Iraqis beating statues of Saddam with their shoes shortly after U.S. troops took Baghdad. Apparently, showing someone your shoe, or worse, hitting a person with a shoe, is one of the strongest expressions of loathing in the culture. So throwing a pair of shoes at Bush is an awfully strong statement of disgust and repudiation.

Anyone know more about the history of this?
Too bad nobody shot him in the face. Yeah I said it.
Gawd, I loves me the internets. Using the Wayback feature, I found this excerpt from a Wall Street Journal commentary from 2003 explaining the shoe thing.
As anyone who has been to the Middle East (or even to countries like India) knows, the foot and shoe are imbued with considerable significance.

The foot occupies the lowest rung in the bodily hierarchy and the shoe, in addition to being something in which the foot is placed, is in constant contact with dirt, soil and worse. The sole of the shoe is the most unclean part of an unclean object. In northern India, where I grew up, the exhortation "Jooté maro!" ("Hit him with shoes!") was invoked when one sought to administer the most demeaning punishment. (Another footwear tidbit: The effigies of unpopular politicians in India are regularly garlanded with shoes and paraded down the streets.)

In the Muslim world, according to Hume Horan, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, "to have the sole of the shoe directed toward one is pretty much the equivalent of someone in our culture giving you the finger." Matthew Gordon, a historian of Islam, says that since one takes one's shoes off before entering a mosque--as a way of maintaining the purity of the place of worship--"the use of a shoe as something to hit you with is an inversion, directing impurity and pollution at the object of the beating."

...the fact remains that Iraqis today are deriving sumptuous pleasure--part ritual, part catharsis--from their chance to hit Saddam with the soles of their shoes. In this, they are not merely degrading him but also exacting retribution for bastinadoes suffered in the past. There probably isn't a single non-Baath-Party Iraqi who wasn't personally beaten or knocked about by the authorities--or who doesn't know someone so ill-used.
Full commentary at…
I think it's a Persian custom - acouple of hundred of years ago liars where sometimes beaten on the mouth with a slipper as punishment. But that is all I know about it. And calling a man 'dog' is pretty insulting too - more like someone calling a woman a 'bitch' in our culture.
It's worth mentioning that even outside the Middle East, most cultures consider it offensive to throw your shoe at someone. In the United States, for example, if you strike an American with your shoe, traditionally he will become angry and respond with the phrase "what the fuck," the time honored response to shoe-throwing.

I'm kind of disturbed that the Secret Service gave him time to throw the second shoe. I hope Obama gets some guys with a little faster reflexes.
Democrat Strategy: Let's reason with them...the Shoe Throwers.

I'm pretty sure that throwing a shoe is the Iraqi way of saying "We greet you as a liberator."

It's all fun and games until...
well, the prez had a pretty snappy comeback, didn't he?

sweets & flowers, shoes, what's the difference?
If only American journalists had hurled questions as pointed and directly for the last 7 years.

One shoe, two shoes, Merry Christmas, all of yous.
Best video EVER. I know that the shoe-thrower is expressing his pain/anger in the most visceral way he knows how, so it's a pretty organic and intense moment. But that didn't stop me from laughing gleefully.
I agree that the Secret Service was lagging a bit in its response. The first person to move to try to block/subdue the shoe-thrower was another Iraqi journalist.

I know that because I was watching MSNBC when the story broke and the footage was then shown in a loop for about an hour.
And good at dodging the shoe too. Must be all the practice dodging the beatings from Barbara.
When you consider that this guy is probably going to go to an Iraqi jail, this actually seems like a pretty courageous thing to do. Or, at the very least, something borne out of extreme frustration.

Either way, this definitely is a counter to the purple finger thing.
bush has reflexes. that first duck was pretty impressive.

Must have been random task.

Don't they use European sizes over there?
That was no lame duck! Har har har.
Oh this is so, so sweet.

Yeah, the foot is the worst part of the body, basically. It's considered rude to even sit with your foot pointing at someone else. So this is pretty much on a par with throwing dirty underwear with skid marks.
Adolf Hitler invaded Poland unprovoked by Poland. Bush invaded Iraq unprovoked by Iraq. Hitler was found to be a war criminal because Germany lost the war and after ward it was determined invading sovereign nations with out provocation is a war crime. Bush has not lost the war so the worst that will happen to him is being called a dog and having two shoes (size 10) thrown at him.
this is solely the most heel-arious thing that i've seen all week.
9 and 17 for the win!
It's absolulty disgusting that you are all taking such glee over this - the President could have been hurt or lost an eye.
taking such glee? we're just gettin' warmed up!
@4 St. Bush the Martyr. Not a good thing.
...and a partridge in a shoe tree...

...unfortunately W is unable to report that it is NOT in the bag, Dad...

I hope this happens to Bush everywhere he goes for the rest of his life :) His entire administration deserves the same treatment, if not worse.
I guess Bush is a shoe-in for least liked president. As they say, vote with your feet!
If anyone would like to toss a pair of Repetto Zizis my way, feel free.
Finally, a use for those lone shoes one occasionally finds on the street! But I suppose now this means that not only people entering airplanes will have to remove their shoes. The press corps will actually be happy to get grammy's socks for xmas.
@26 Perhaps the Bush administration should have considered the countless soldiers and civilians that did get hurt, lose eyes and other body parts and died because of official lies that led us into war? Just offering a bit of perspective that you clearly lack.
What next, barfing in the Prime Minister's lap? Oh, wait a minute, that's right, Poppy Bush already did that in Japan many years ago.
#4 for the win. nice call Mr Poe. I'd like to also sling some bags of shit at him.
I can't believe you're all taking this so lightly. The leader of the free world nearly got a footprint on his face! What we need is some type of early warning system to prevent this type of thing from occurring; a "shoe horn", if you will.
What amazes me is the fact that he had time to take off his other shoe and hurl it at Bush. Is the secret service being a little lax in their work as we're approaching the finish line?

[On a personal note, I would have been more than delighted to see Bush get hit in the head with a shoe.]

That would have been a great way to end his so-called "legacy".
Let's give credit where credit is due: Bush's quick duck on both shoes - especially the first one - was pretty amazing. That first one was at point blank range, the dude threw it *hard* and the prez didn't know what was coming, and he still got completely out of the way. Didn't even graze him.

I despise the guy but that was impressive.
@ 26, Bush could've been hurt!?

Fucking shame he wasn't.

That chimp-faced cunt deserves death.
On my list of favorite things in the world, Bush ranks well below canker sores.

However, is anyone else disturbed by this? Not only the unpreparedness of the Secret Service, but also what this means about the state of journalism in Iraq? I mean, they are relying on bozos like this shoe-thrower to do their reporting?

Like or hate Bush, this was a bad thing, and does not portend well.
awesome reflexes are a common characteristic of the american male.
Oh, George. You go to Iraq on your Last Tour Ever, like Cher or the Who, and wind up on Iraq's Funniest Home Videos.
Just think - for days to come, al-Jazeera and the rest of the global media will be playing this footage looped for hours on end. The comedy hit of December '08!
Seemed almost staged to me... The perfect duck, the slow response...
That guy's probably being waterboarded as we speak.
Calling anyone a dog in Muslim culture is likewise an insult. Dogs are not domesticated and are considered unclean to the point of being untouchable.
this made my week. how did a man so slow-witted find the reflexes to dodge the flying shoes?
No bomb in the shoe?
WTF! Dan Savage and Bush strap on their six-shooters and go to Iraq and free the people-killing a few tens of thousands along the way, but hey WTF. And this ungrateful bastard throws a shoe at Bush? WTF. Maybe he had a family member or friend killed. That's still not a good reason to dis President Bush. Wait until Dan hears about this MotherFucker!!! Dan will come over there and kill your fucking kids himself! Remember when he wrote this?

Say "YES" to War on Iraq

"War may be bad for children and other living things, but there are times when peace is worse for children and other living things, and this is one of those times."

"In the meantime, invading and rebuilding Iraq will not only free the Iraqi people, it will also make the Saudis aware of the consequences they face if they continue to oppress their own people while exporting terrorism and terrorists. The War on Iraq will make it clear to our friends and enemies in the Middle East (and elsewhere) that we mean business: Free your people, reform your societies, liberalize, and democratize... or we're going to come over there, remove you from power, free your people, and reform your societies for ourselves."

Dan Savage October 2002

@41, the state of journalism in iraq? are you really aware of what you're saying? the state of journalism? that journalist probably saw bush's exit interview with charlie gibson and wanted to knock some fucking sense into his thick skull.
after all the people bush has killed based on lies, there's still people out there saying "he could've got a shoeprint on his forehead OH NOOOOOS!" good lord how brainwashed are you?
@50 I've apologized for that article several times. I can't bring people back to life.


"I'm kind of disturbed that the Secret Service gave him time to throw the second shoe. I hope Obama gets some guys with a little faster reflexes."

This isn't the movies. If you were guarding Bush would you be willing to die for the sorry asshole?
Bush has not lost the war

It is Patrick Cockburn's opinion that he has lost the war.
Tot hose who intelligently understand that this was an indication of a security threat -- what if it had been a rock, etc.:

You are correct. If there is even a 1% chance that someone could throw a shoe, or a rock, at our President, after 9-11 the world is different and we cannot tolerate that risk.

Therefore, whenever the President gives a press conference around the world, the Secret SErvice will now SHOOT ON SIGHT any journalist deemed to have a 1% chance of throwing a shoe. This means that next week we will be INVADING CANADA AND SHOOTING THEIR JOURNALISTS they might have shoes of presidential desruction. Or annoyance.

Remember, we do not want the next shoe to be a peyote mushroom cloud that engulfs our president!!
because clearly those journalists present
Someone should throw a loaded adult diaper at the S.O.B.!
Brilliant response 50. A world living in fear of us ... yeah, that's the key to the future.
Looks like Bill Kristol was almost right--except they're throwing Florsheims instead of flowers.

I was dismayed to read about Dan Savage's comments above. I've always liked his column. Too bad he's a hopeless dupe. Or has he come to his senses, like so many other people, now that he's seen the results of what was obvious to the rest of us?
So any hope that Bush *will* be tried for crimes against humanity?
George Bush, get the fuck out of Washington, DC
WTF "last surprise visit to Iraq"
are you fucking kidding me?

So what if Dan Savage has "come to his senses?" He, and millions of assholes like him who would never have to fight in Iraq, helped Bush go to war; maim and kill and displace from their homes millions of Iraqi citizens and then Dan says "oopps-got that one wrong, sorry." and then it's back to being entertained by good old Dan's juvenile shtick.

Noooo! Fuck Dan Davage! He, in his own little way, is just as bad as Bush, Cheney and all the other sorry mother fuckers who exploit human beings for profit.

Scott Horton at has written a lengthy answer to your question.…
This week the Senate Armed Services Committee issued a powerful report, released jointly by chair Carl Levin and ranking member John McCain, that received the unanimous support of its Democratic and Republican members. The report concluded that Donald Rumsfeld and other high-level officials of the administration consciously adopted a policy for the torture and abuse of prisoners held in the war on terror. It also found that they attempted to cover up their conduct by waging a P.R. campaign to put the blame on a group of young soldiers they called “rotten apples.” Lawyers figure prominently among the miscreants identified. Evidently the torture policy’s authors then enlisted ethics-challenged lawyers to craft memoranda designed to give torture “the appearance of legality” as part of a scheme to create the torture program despite internal opposition
So I was thinking. If someone invaded America and killed my kid I'd be really pissed off. But my kid is white. Those people in Iraq have dark skins. Who gives a fuck if they get killed. We need their oil. That's why I supported the war. So that we Americans can continue our lifestyle.

I am a bad bad man. Please don't read my blog.
@Joe Feiittt

Just pointing out that saying someone "in his own little way, is just as bad" is the same as saying "x is much less than y, but equal to y".
Jesus Christ, get off of Dan's nuts. He says things, he says stupid things, he says insensitive things, things he wants to retract a few minutes later...that was six years ago. Ideas change. Dan's not perfect. I'm not perfect. Neither are you. Everyone's a hypocrite at some point. End of story.
haha. dan savage exploits people for a living? well maybe by telling them how to use their penis/vagina, because thanks to bush and abstinence only sex ed, all the teenagers in this country know is "Oh we were rubbing up against each other and now she's pregnant! oh my, how did this happen?"
We should worship the shoe!

... or maybe the gourd.
Someone mentioned it looked kinda staged. I don't know about that - but what I DID see sure looked like an almost amused look on Bush's face after the first throw.

Extrapolate that kind of reaction into thinking about the mindset of the man who was essentially in the driver's seat of the world for the past 8 years.

Can you say "close shave"?
Staged! Fake! Viral! Bush is probably selling dockers, or some shit.
Shame it wasn't a British politician, he'd have jumped over the lectern and knocked the reporter out, Prescott style!
people! you took the bait and fed the troll!
Savage: Don't you dare joke about any of this! I can accept your apology for taking the wrong side in a pointless war, but I cannot (nor should any decent human being) accept your smug and indignant comments. If that had been your kid over there who died, you would be a little less smug. #60 is RIGHT THE FUCK ON. Oh, and the whole 'bad bad man' bullshit is SOOOOO old. If you don't have an intelligent argument to make, then SHUT THE FUCK UP! Can't we disagree with a President without wishing physical harm upon him or for anyone else for that matter? Savage, you have a lot of growing up to do, SUCK MY BALLS.
George W. smiled at the guy after the first shoe was thrown. He was thinking, "If I can buy the Rangers back I think I found my closed."
If Bush is actually tried as a war criminal (Hah, call me on the twelfth of never!) and is convicted (Call me on the thirteenth, too!) I pray his punishment is death by shoe-ing...its just like stoning only with sneakers. Yeah, it would take a lot of shoes, but Hell, what's a few Keds in the name of justice?
say, that is
You gotta give it up to the journalist. The man's aim was dead-on!
I only regret that I have but two shoes to lose for my country
I expect the Republicans will now call for a complete ban on size 10 shoes.
You pathetic people - I can't wait until about a year from now when you will be spouting your stupid obscenities about Obama - people like you don't have a life and obviously didn't have time to get an education and learn other words besides obscene ones. Go back to school and learn something and thank your lucky stars we had George Bush as our president because next year at this time, you will be singing the blues!! God bless you and Merry Christmas
I threw away a rancid (in spite of the fact that I go barefoot a lot) pair of tennis shoes today that, had they been similarly employed, might have been considered lethal weapons.
@80 - only ten of the 80+ comments in this thread contain language that could be considered obscene.

only two of the comments in this thread directly point out that you are an idiot; this one, and your own.
I just wish it'd been a grenade; it'd be the only justice that evil SOB would ever see.
@80 is projecting, she is the lowest of the low information voter (assuming she votes).
at last someone brave and intelligent enough! all these years of his presidency no one had stronger message for this idiot then this poor Iraqi journalist, and he took all punishment on his own back. his name must be remembered!
post #63 was not dan savage. but "miss america" is mister poe.
I like good reflexes and cock reflexes. Bush +2.
Sure makes American journalists look like a bunch of pussies.
I hate Bush, his cronies, his administration, and nearly everything he has destroyed during his term. That being said... "Don't throw a shoe at my President, asshole".
It was GREAT! What the hell was the idiot doing in Iraq anyway...doesn't he know he's THROUGH? Zillions of Americans like me...also wish it'd been a grenade. What a fitting 'end' that would have been for the stupid bozo. The Iraqi shoe throwing journalist probably couldn't stand to hear ONE MORE LIE FROM HIS CREEPY LIPS..and rather sent a message from the entire world...."..AND DON'T COME BACK---BUSH CRIME FAMILY!'
ps...has anyone ever 'googled' BUSH CRIME FAMILY? If you haven't it--way interesting.
Does anyone else out 'there' thing that #80 is a disgruntled HEALTH INSURANCE AGENT FOR BLUE CROSS? FROM TEXAS, OF COURSE!
I have to agree, @4 for the win. Once again, Mr. Poe nails it.
Don't like Bush much, but credit where credit is due: he has the reflexes of a cat! When it comes to dodging shoes, at least.
the man dodged that shoe like it was the draft!
Ha ha! what a dick... good riddance W! Everyone should throw their shoes at that idiot son of a rich man, and maybe a pie.
If there's one thing that man knows how to do, it's evade stuff.
We've got to act quickly now or miss out on an incredible, historical opportunity here: EVERYBODY MAIL SOME SHOES TO THE WHITE HOUSE! What better way to say "I love you George" than hurling your very own shoes at him as well!
I like makalu's idea.

When you visit DC, toss your old shoes over the fence.