Saturday, December 20, 2008



By Kevin Stoda

I noted that Code-Pink and others had a shoe-throwing event this past week (December 17) in front of the White House.

Here in Kuwait, the Al-Watan Daily paper (partner of the International Herald Tribune) noted this week that roughly half those Kuwaitis interviewed approved of the throwing of a shoe at George W. Bush a few days earlier, i.e. when Bush visited neighboring Iraq.

Sawsan Kazak of the FRIDAY TIMES noted her dismay that the shoe-throwing had become

a top story of the week in her article, “It’s Just a Shoe, It Could Have Been Worse”.

Kazak wrote, “I am here to tell you that Mr. Al-Zaidi's attack was symbolic, but it is not the insult or act of terror that people are making it out to be. Since the beginning of time, politicians have been hit with some really odd things, like pies, tomatoes and even eggs. And let's face it, a shoe thrown from a distance is not that insulting.
It could have been much worse had Al-Zaidi gone the extra step and taken off his socks. I believe that socks in the face is much more insulting. Think about it, it doesn't take any effort to kick off your shoes. But a lot more planning needs to take place if you want to throw your socks. Socks are also more insulting to receive in the face as they are usually smellier and sweatier than shoes.
Being a reporter, Muntazer Al-Zaidi must have had a pen and note pad at his disposal. What would have happened had he decided to use these items instead of his shoes? A shoe would leave a bump, put a pen can poke someone's eye out and the note pads would have given Bush a very nasty and painful paper cut. Clearly, the shoes represent the safer choice.”

CONNECTING THE DOTS—Bush is the Worlds’ Dodger

As a whole, Kuwaitis were probably the most supportive persons outside of the Bush-Cheney White House for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The economic boom that followed the U.S.-allied invasion of Iraq in 2003 ended over two decades of under-investment and development in Kuwait.

Therefore, in many ways, I was surprised that so many Kuwaitis—nearly half-- supported the symbolism of throwing a shoe at the 8-year-long President of the United States.

Sawsan Kazak ends her tongue-in-cheek review of all the fuss in Kuwait--leading to arguments over insults and the symbolism of shoes--by wryly stating:

“On a side note, I want to acknowledge the fast, cat-like reflexes George demonstrated during the surprise blitz. It was obviously something he picked up during his army years. If I ever form my own professional dodge ball team, I would definitely pick George W. Bush to be on my side.”

That Kazak makes an allusion to Bush—i.e. as a war-dodger from the 1970s Vietnam-era USA--may come as a surprise to Americans who are not aware of how some other peoples around the world both absorb U.S. culture and evaluate it more critically than Americans—themselves—often do.

This comment about W-Bush-being-not-only-a-shoe-dodger demonstrates a particularly important nuance by Kazak as well as demonstrates the sensitivity that some in Kuwaiti share with Americans, who also feel it is time to change the government or status quo. [For example, Kuwaitis have voted to change the government two times in less than two years already—and the trend is to vote down the current regime. This very week the Emir of Kuwait had accepted the resignation of his cabinet.]§ion=international

I honestly believe that the symbolism of Bush-as-a-dodger-of-justice may become the ultimate symbolism of 2008-2009 if no federal personnel are tasked to investigate and arrest him, Cheney and other political-above-the-law types in the U.S.A.


Kuwait is a country, like many of its Arab neighbors, suffering under a horrible system of “wasta”.

Wasta is simultaneously defined in some countries as (a) using one’s strong political connections to get things you want, or (b) indirectly bribing someone with future chits, or (c) a means of protecting one’s family and friends in an unfair- or biased system of tribal and personal allegiances and incompetency.

Overall, I believe that the Kuwaitis (and other nationals here) as a whole have been astounded the manner the U.S. business contractors and friends of Bush-Cheney over the past 8 years in Iraq have broken most codes that America have worked hard to set up since the 1970s as international business and trade standards to provide a freer and more honest form of capitalism in the Middle East.

As early as the mid-1980s, the U.S.A.’s one-decade long campaign against corruptions was beginning to be notable for its successes in both Africa and the Middle East.

The pattern was one where, although it still might be true that European and Japanese firms might bend the rules and allow all kinds of corruption, the USA’s Government Accounting Office (GOA) and other international and federal agencies would take both U.S. and foreign firms to court if U.S. standards were breached—just as has recently occurred with the Siemens settlement in the U.S. court system.

[Siemens is paying 1.3 billion dollars in this most recent U.S. prosecution of corruption and company sanctioned bribes that create unfair trade and business practices around the globe.]

Now, after the news that U.S.’s 2003 no-bid contracts in Iraq and subsequent corrupt or fairly-unfair and poorly-run government oversight & business practices have helped ruin both Iraq and the U.S. budget, how many years will it be before the U.S. is taken seriously when it goes after corruption and unfair trade and business practices in Russia and China?

In short, the secret has been out for years. U.S. money-men flushed with the U.S. takeover of one the world’s major oil producers, has been seen more and more as a corruptible golden cow.


I still see far too many Americans in power (currently in government)—or in the wings with the incoming Democratic administration--who don’t get it.

How will America ever grow up and get over the sins of the past two or more administration’s lackadaisical approaches to its own laws on the books—regarding cronyism and monopolies in government (and business) all-helping drive the disrespect we have earned as a nation?

The only way to MOVE-ON anew, AMERICA, INC, is if the outgoing Bush-Cheney administration will see its officials taken out in handcuffs of the White House-- and/or at least have subpoenas handed out to them--no later than by January 20, 2009?

In summary, if there are no cases filed in federal court against the malfeasance and lawless of the past decade-long run at tax-payers expense in Washington DC and in neighboring Iraq (and even in Kuwait), Kuwaitis and other Arabs—and wasta-style businessmen and government officials world-wide--will remember only that George W. Bush, the dodger of responsibility, once again was able to dodge any justice in America.

This will affect America’s image on the global stage—in business, in foreign policy and in global justice and trade relations .

These regional and global leaders will give Obama the benefit of the doubt in the first months--but only for a little bit.

This means: if the same old ways of doing business and running of government stays essentially the same, most people on the planet will assume that we can expect little or no change in Washington after mid-2009.

In contrast, if subpoenas are distributed by January 2009 by various fair and just federal employees in America (and these subpoenas are supported by government officials), the word “Change” will have real meaning and intent behind it for many years to come.

In short, why should Kuwaitis, Iraqis and other Middle East tycoons in Egypt or Saudi reform their wealthy countries if the U.S.A. doesn’t?


I have simple proposal for Americans all over the world to carry out a simple protest in the next weeks.

Either send your shoes to your congressmen or send your congressmen a letter with pictures of shoes enclosed--along with a good new years list of wishes of what needs to be done.

Note that as the shoes drop, we will force greater anticipation worldwide that Americans expect a different America in 2009—and thereafter.

We want to be examples of good business and personal relations—even across our borders. We want to start anew in 2009 in terms of how political-economy helps the masses of workers, i.e. who are busy paying off debts of the past decades.

We expect no more Hoovervilles.

We want peace and a real American housecleaning of criminal behaviors.

If this doesn’t help, go ahead—throw shoes at the White House, the capital buildings in Washington and in your home state.

Or, leave shoes at Bush and Cheney’s new homes—wherever they be—even outside of prisons and other places of governance in America.

If this humble protest doesn’t work—throw your smelliest socks!

Let us see how long Bush and Cheney & Co. can dodge the facts—our shoes and our dirty socks: They are criminals and they will be remembered as representing the worst face of America.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Mustafa Abed was about to celebrate his second birthday when the American missile struck.
That was on November 3, 2004, in the city of Fallujah.
Mustafa in Amman
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9:23 PM  
Blogger Kevin Anthony Stoda said...


US Frees 5 Gitmo Prisoners

The Bush administration has freed three Bosnian nationals from the Guantanamo Bay prison, one week after a US judge ordered their release. On Tuesday, the three prisoners, originally from Algeria, were returned to Bosnia, where they were rounded up and handed to the US in October 2001. Nadja Dizdarevic, wife of freed prisoner Hajj Boudella, vowed to seek justice for her husband.

Nadja Dizdarevic: “After seven years, my fight for release of these three men has come to an end. But this will not end my fight for the human rights of other people. I will keep fighting so that those responsible for the kidnapping of these men are held accountable.”

Two others are still being held despite orders for their release. The five were imprisoned as “enemy combatants” without charge for more than seven years. The White House initially accused them of planning to attack the US embassy in Sarajevo but later said they had actually sought to fight US troops in Afghanistan. No evidence was ever produced.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Journalist T. Christian Miller of the investigative website ProPublica obtained a copy of the coming Federal report on the 100 Billion plus boondoggle on Iraq's development since 2003.

Here is an interview with Amy Goodman on DEMOCRACY NOW.

AMY GOODMAN: You relate this, T. Christian Miller, to the economic crisis today. I mean, the history says that you’ve gotten a hold of $117 billion spent on reconstruction, including $50 billion of US taxpayer money.

T. CHRISTIAN MILLER: I think there is a common theme, both to—that runs from Madoff to the subprime crisis to the reconstruction of Iraq, and that is accountability, that is government regulation, and that has been decimated. Beginning in the 1990s and after the Cold War, you’ve seen those agencies in the American government, which were responsible for regulation, agencies like the GAO, contacting agencies, oversight agencies, have just been devastated by cutbacks, by administrations which have not paid that much attention or provided them with the staffing or personnel they need to do their jobs. So you have seen, I think—through all these different crises, what you see is, the government wasn’t there at a time when it was supposed to be there.

There are different reasons in all those cases. In Iraq, certainly there was a lot of violence. Certainly, it was difficult to get people to go over to Iraq and pay attention. With Madoff, we’ll see what the Securities and Exchange Commission has to say about why they weren’t adequately regulating that issue. But time and again, the issue is, we’ve had a government which has been really shrunk and hollowed out in terms of its ability to oversee and regulate private businesses, private corporations and what it is they’re doing. And that is the function of government, is to make sure that everybody plays fair. They’re referees. And if there’s not enough referees around, the game gets ugly.

AMY GOODMAN: T. Christian Miller, [Stuart] Bowen, the man who led the report, shows a line from Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations as the epitaph of the American-led attempt to rebuild Iraq: “We spent as much money as we could, and got as little for it as people could make up their minds to give us.” Thank you very much for being with us, T. Christian Miller, a reporter for ProPublica, investigative news website, and author of Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives and Corporate Greed in Iraq.

10:04 PM  

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