December 17th, 2008
02:34 PM ET

What Should Happen to Iraqi Shoe Thrower?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush during a press conference in Baghdad went before a judge last night. A source at the Iraqi Central Criminal Court told CNN he will likely be charged with assaulting a foreign head of state.

According to wire reports, Iraqi law dictates that he could face seven years in prison. And whether you agree with the war in Iraq or not, it probably saved this man's life. If he had thrown his shoes while Saddam was in power he likely would have been executed on the spot.

Instead he was arrested and promptly put in jail. Thousands of Iraqis are calling him a hero and are rallying for his release.

When asked by CNN's Candy Crowley yesterday what should happen to the man, President Bush said authorities shouldn't overact. He called the incident an interesting form of expression and added that it's part of the free society emerging in Iraq.

The man will stand trial, perhaps as early as next week, and reportedly be represented by a lawyer who said he will file a request to have his client released on bail.

Here’s my question to you: What's the appropriate punishment for the man who threw his shoes at President Bush?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

David writes:
If he has any musical talent, he should be signed as an opening act for The Dixie Chicks.

Tricia writes:
Regardless of how you feel about the President of the United States, when he is outside of the country he is representing us. You are allowed to disagree with our policies, you are not allowed to disrespect a representative of our country and as such, he should face jail time for his actions.

Earle from Woodstock, Vermont writes:
Chop his feet off and have them bronzed for Bush!

Charles from Lansing, Michigan writes:
Sainthood isn't good enough.

Nancy from Grand Ledge, Michigan writes:
What would happen to a shoe thrower in this country? He should be punished! It bothers me more that he was able to throw two shoes! Where was the Secret Service? All they did was hit Dana Perino with a microphone. What if the shoe is a shoe bomb next time? Which of them is being punished?

STR writes:
I think he should be free on bail and perhaps have to do community service by speaking to journalism students about how to control urges to do stupid things.

Paula from Albuquerque, New Mexico writes:
He should receive the highest decorations of the sovereign nation of Iraq, and have a statue erected in his honor. A broad and well-traveled boulevard should be named for him, as well as the premier hospital facility in Baghdad. A school or two should bear his name, and his likeness should adorn Iraqi postage stamps. He is a man of courage.

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Barbara - NC

    He should receive a medal and be given throwing practice. Many people want to do the same thing.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  2. Martha Sample

    He should be given a Medal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Richmond Virginia

    December 17, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  3. forbes Phoenix, AZ

    Hi Jack,
    I can certainly understand the Iraqi journalist's frustration as he may have lost some of his family; and much of the world is tired of this war and Bush's policies. But threats and assaults should never be allowed to be advanced on any foreign dignitary and leader of a country from a hosting country. It shows great disrespect and barbarism. I think that journalist should pay a stiff fine and possibly jailed.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  4. jim Toronto

    He should get a medal for, having 'gutsmanship'!

    December 17, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  5. Brad Mahoney

    His shoes should have their own reality show. It would be better than most of the drivel we see right now.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  6. Charles, Lansing, MI

    Sainthood isn't good enough.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  7. Ken in NC

    Give him more shoes. It is a new life in Iraq now. Under the government of Saddam, the "Shoe Thrower" and probably his family would have been executed before sunset.

    Let them enjoy their new found freedom. Maybe we can open a shoe factory here and sell them "Throwing shoes" like "Running Shoes". That would result in a boost to our economy.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  8. Steve of Hohenwald TN.

    He should get the nobel peace prize.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  9. Howard M. Bolingbrook IL

    The shoe thrower should be prosecuted for "attempted assault on a foreign dignitary". After all it was an attempted assault.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  10. Al in IA

    He should receive a presidential pardon from George who laughed off the incident in his insolent manner.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  11. Sharon, King George VA

    He was disrespectful to President Bush but aren't most of us. Buy him a new pair of shoes and a book on etiquette.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  12. Tom, Jacksonville, FL

    At the very least, the local authorities should return his shoes.

    Tom, Jacksonville, Florida

    December 17, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  13. Jeff from Minneapolis, MN

    If he were in the US, he would be detained for a period of time, questioned and then released. However, this is Iraq, so it's anyone's guess. So, he could end up being released after a good talking to or given a medal. I cannot believe he'd do any jail time for this, it was a pair of shoes after all.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  14. Terry, Chandler AZ

    No punishment. He should be given his own show on CNN.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  15. Edward Nelson, Mount Vernon, NY

    Hey Jack,

    He should be pardoned for proving that a lame duck is best at ducking. This is a President who called dropping bombs on Iraq, "Operation Iraqi Peace." When the reporter lodged the shoe at President Bush he was engaged in "Operation Iraqi Thanks." It was a warm gesture for bringing peace and he got arrested. What a shame! A shoe is as close as we get to a weapon of mass destruction. Hey Jack, I wonder how many friends and family members the reporter lost for the sake of peace. A pardon should be in order.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  16. Rose-Texas

    He should be given a medal.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  17. Jeff from Sturgis, MI

    Punishment? This man shouldn't be punished. How many of us watched that video and wished we were the one throwing our shoes at President Bush? I say it sums up our feelings about the outgoing Commander-in-Chief quite admirably.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  18. Brett Milam

    Put his portrait up in the White House instead of President Bush's.

    Cincinnati, OH

    December 17, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  19. wally Ruehmann las vegas nv

    he should be brought to new your and given a ticker tape parade. awarded the metal of honor. opera could give him a new car, and taken to disneyland. finally someone had the nerve to do what should have been done 7 years ago.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  20. John, Fort Collins, CO

    He should be encouraged to sign an endorsement contract for Crocs, "the only shoes that are safe to throw". Since he is already a poster child there, they could make a fortune in the Middle East and help improve the U.S. balance of payments.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  21. CJ in Atlanta, GA

    They guy should serve a few weeks in jail and be fined, but otherwise what he did really isn't that big of a deal.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  22. Jeffrey Cohen from LA, California

    A couple days of jail time and then let the man go back to living his life. He is not a bad man for doing what he did. He has every right to be angry at President Bush for the turmoil he has witnessed in his country.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  23. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: I would have his legal representative call George Steinbrenner-he is always looking for talent. The old saying, if the shoes fit–wear them. By the way-were those shoes Bruno Mali's?

    December 17, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  24. Karyn

    What most Bush supporters don't get is that the 'showing the sole of the shoes' was supposed to be the ultimate insult to the President...not a threat....

    Personally, I think the Iraqis should hold a parade in that man's (shoe thrower) honor...........


    December 17, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  25. dennis north carolina

    It was a protest so he should be set free unharmed. No one was hurt except the pride of Bush so let the man go.Bush has done a lot more harm to his country and people than just throwing a pair of shoes but will he pay for it except in a history book. the answer is no.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  26. Dennis, Columbus, Ohio

    30 days in jail for missing.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  27. odessa

    whether you like bush or not, the reporter should get punishment for throwing shoes at bush..bush should had never went over there in the first place..the iraqi people probably are resentful about starting a war, innocent people got killed, and they don't like bush at all..

    December 17, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  28. sully,,,forest park ga

    well he assaulted a president so he should be judge and if convicted jail time.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  29. Marie

    Slap a fine on him or something, but don't put him in prison. This can either be a bit of catharsis for the Iraqis or one more sore spot for them to grumble over. Let it go.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  30. Jackie in Dallas

    Just another example of Bush being entirely unaware of what actually happened. What the reporter did is the most extreme form of insult possible in the Islamic world. While I think it is correct to say that if he had done so under Hussein, he would have been executed, if we had not invaded their country, he wouldn't have had the motivation to do such an extreme act. Typical of Bush, he just doesn't get it that he is despised all over the world, has eroded the respect and reputation of this country, and heartily hated by a good number of people IN this country.

    I'm counting the hours now...

    December 17, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  31. Ray Kinserlow

    Give the man a medal and a parade in his honor.

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    December 17, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  32. Frann Altman in Los Angeles, CA

    What would happen in the US if a citizen threw a shoe at the Iraqi President while he was visiting here? Clearly he'd have been taken away, jailed and many citizens here might also be cheering so the country's response is not that unusual, is it?

    I'm more concerned as to where the secret service was, or was not, that allowed the second shoe to be thrown.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  33. Diana Ewing NJ

    I am not okay with this... don't want to settle with "what is Saddam was still alive..." thing... It does not make what the United States did better for me.. We bombed and invaded another country.. and now occupy it..
    Let's face it... Bush went there in secret to say good bye for a reason.. his safety..

    December 17, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  34. Terence

    He should get a job as a shoe salesmen. When its not busy he can practice shoe throwing for the Iraqi olympics. I hear its a big sport in Iraq now.
    Terence , Piscataway, NJ

    December 17, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  35. John, Winston Salem, NC

    We should give him the Illinois seat that Blagojevich was selling.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  36. Pat,Lexington, Ky.

    A minimum sentence. He has already been beaten. He has already lost family members in the war. If he cannot be released on bail, then he should be given a minimum sentence and be done with it.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  37. Lee in TN

    He got even closer than any heckler could ever dream of coming. Remember, he had a five mile radius blocked off when he was in public,here at home to prevent the hecklers from even getting close.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  38. Mike - Hot Springs, Arkansas

    The gentleman should be given the honor he deserves. He is an Iraqi patriot if there is such a thing.. Unfortunately the country is so screwed up these days, he will be punished for not good reason.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  39. Marva (Oklahoma)

    In this instance, the man should receive an award! He spoke volumes for millions in Iraq and in the United States!

    December 17, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  40. Ryan, Galesburg, IL

    This man, a journalist, has lost family, been captured by the U.S. military, tortured by militias and watched as his were countrymen torn to shreds because of Bush's penchant for lying. Now his arms and ribs are broken while he waits in an Iraqi cell.

    Time Served, and then some.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  41. Winston in Berrien Springs, MI

    How come Nike is squandering such an potentially monsterous marketing campaign? They should give that guy a huge shoe contract and make him their advertising spokesman in the Middle East. Can you imagine the killing Nike would make selling ballistic footware to angry Muslims? Those shoes would literally fly off the shelf...SWOOSH!

    December 17, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  42. Esther M. Akron Ohio

    send him to disneyland for a reward for his actions for our thoughts

    December 17, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  43. David of Alexandria VA

    He should be arrested, tried, and , if found guilty, punished. We arrest people for far less than an assault on the President. If the president of Iran was similarly assaulted in NYC by a member of the US press, that press person would probably still be in the clink.

    This is not about politics - it's about the law. If the Iraqui press guy had a beef wioth US policy, he should either (1) report it in his media on a fair and unbiased basis or (2) where a "Bush must leave" tee shirt in the press conference..

    December 17, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  44. Dave in MO

    The funny thing is that if Saddam Hussein was still President of Iraq we would not be having this conversation. Mr. Shoe thrower would have been dead 1 minute after it happened. Iraq sure has come a long way.!

    December 17, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  45. Alex

    At Palin rallies, a few audience members called Obama "a terrorist" and said "kill him" which is a form of expression despite being negative. Did those people go to prison for seven years? No. So, if throwing shoes is a form of expression in the middle east, which it appears to be, then the Iraqi shoe thrower should not go to prison. But if the shoe thrower did break the law, he should recieve a fair trial like Saddam Hussein did. And if found guilty, the journalist should face reasonable consequences thanks to George Bush – the victim of his attacks.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  46. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    The man should be minimally punished, such as a fine,because even though frustrated, angry, fearful, and a host of emotions we cannot begin to know, until we begin to understand and respect one another nothing will change. All he did was act exactly how Bush has acted to all Iraqies, in which case what changes?
    This man has an outlet as he is a journalist, there he has an audience for a peaceful protest.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  47. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    I think he should be sentenced to something creative, like community service, where he has to shine shoes for 400 hours or something.

    I don't think he should be punished severely, especially since he missed his target.

    On the other hand, maybe he SHOULD be punished BECAUSE he missed his target!

    December 17, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  48. Audrey Fryer

    He should be given a medal for having the guts to do what so-called Western journalists can't seem to do. Maybe if the western journalists had done their jobs in the first place, this catastrophe might never have happened. Ask the survivors of this deadly invasion in Iraq what they think should happen.

    Vancouver Island

    December 17, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  49. Billy G in Las Vegas

    sign him up for the Pittsburgh Pirates. he has a better arm than any of their pitching staff and is more accurate. if Bush had not have ducked, the guy would have hit him square in the squash.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  50. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia December 17th, 2008 2:56 pm ET

    Jack: I would have his legal representative call George Steinbrenner—he is always looking for talent. The old saying, if the shoes fit–wear them. By the way—were those shoes Bruno Mali’s?
    Good question. Maybe he should have thrown his shoes at OJ? 🙂

    December 17, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  51. shobana sridhar

    He should pay for the Blatant disregard he showed towards a foreign dignitary as powerful as President Bush. He could have just vent his frustrations rather than attack.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  52. D - Atlanta, GA

    Erect a bronze statute of him in mid-throw outside the Bush Library and declare the date of the incident a national holiday.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  53. Amanda

    Sadly, if it were any other President of the USA we would all be outraged. But it since it was W, there are probably a lot of people out there that think, like I do, that if one of those shoes would have hit the intended target, it might have knocked some sense into him.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  54. Annie, Atlanta

    US citizenship, a job at CNN, and make his birthday a national holiday. No seriously, free him, with compensation for damages from the beating. Bush doesn’t comprehend the insult & thinks it’s funny the guy threw shoes (yes, and we voted for him twice – yeah us!).

    December 17, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  55. Jake, Oregon

    I think ABC should send Ty Penninigton over there with his team to do an extreme makeover on the reporter's house and all his neighbors. It would be far better for relations with Iraq than anything Bush has done so far. Besides, The Extreme Team seems to be able to do the makeovers much cheaper than Halliburton contractors.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  56. Ron from SF

    The appropriate punishment is to declare a holiday on his birthday and give him a ticker tape parade, down Broadway in New York. Finally, a journalist with the stones to stand up to Bush and it’s a refreshing change, from the stenography we’ve endured for 8 years. A form of punishment I’d approve of, would be to make him the Prime Minister of Iraq and if you were to give the Iraqi people that choice, Malaki would be toast. Then again, I like this guy.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  57. bob, oshawa, ontario

    Jack, he should probably be given a monetary fine but not imprisoned. I believe he was justified in his action that spoke volumes of the colossal crime committed against humanity by the Bush administration's illegal war. The real focus should be on impeaching a president who cavalierly dismissed the fact that weapons of mass destruction were never found, and lying to the American people and the world that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 attack. This poor guy who threw the shoes showed more courage than the entire U.S. media and the so-called investigative reporters who were cowed by the thuggish Bush government. Once again, Bush dodges not only the flung shoes but probably any future reprisal.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  58. Patricia

    Look the worse that should happen to this poor man is that he is fined & his press credentials be taken away from him for 6 months. Personally, I'd give the man a medal. He has more reason to hate George Bush & the United States of American than almost any other Iraqi on the planet. We've tortured this man some time ago & if I were him I'd carry a grudge against the people who ordered it, namely George Bush & "Dead-eye" Dick Cheney. Bush should be glad all the man threw was a shoe.
    Palmdale, Ca.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  59. Willow, Iowa

    We don't know what his situation is, if he's lost loved ones. He yelled out about the "widows and orphans", so we don't know what's going on with him. Hoping just a severe talking to and let him go. He cannot assault foreign dignitaries of other countries.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  60. Hubert Bertrand

    OUR PRESIDENT no matter who; we should respect him. After all he is an AMERICAN, I don't like the way he is running our country, But he is the president.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  61. Paula in Albuquerque

    He should receive the highest decorations of the sovereign nation of Iraq, and have a statue erected in his honor. A broad and well-travelled boulevard should be named for him, as well as the premier hospital facility in Baghdad. A school or two should bear his name, and his likeness should adorn Iraqi postage stamps. He is a man of courage...a Hero...and, someone whom I shall never forget...

    December 17, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  62. roger WOLFF

    he should be given honors

    December 17, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  63. B-Koi Vancouver Island, BC

    He should be given lessons on hitting targets, a new pair of shoes, a statue in his honor and a movie deal, or at least a book deal? This guy has what Jessie Jackson was going to remove from Barack Obama !

    December 17, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  64. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Hi Jack,

    I do not know the proper punishment beside walking bare foot if it is the only shoes he has in his possession! For some odd reasons, every time I hear the words I do not know why but my mind registers ! Maybe there is an answer with that weird connection!

    December 17, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  65. Joe in DE

    The medal of Freedom.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  66. Tom

    give him some more shoes and let him try again

    December 17, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  67. bigjoerice minnesota

    Everybody is missing the point. Ask that journalist how many shoes he dared to throw at Saddam Hussein.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  68. Kev - Cherry hill, New Jersey

    I was going to say a Medal, but he missed! Therefore, I'd say lessons on the proper aiming procedures. (i.e. taking into account the wind direction, etc.)

    December 17, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  69. Jason, Koloa, HI

    He should be signed to a lucrative ad deal for the new Baghdad Nike outlet mall.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:57 pm |

    He should be given a fine and 200 hours of public service. Had he thrown a shoe at Saddam Hussein, he would be dead. Whatever happens to him, he should consider himself lucky.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  71. Marieth, Chicago

    Everytime I think Bush has done all that he can do, he tops the last thing. He down-played the show throwing reporters by saying something like he wanted to be noticed. The man was furious – he called Bush a dog, and said that this happened on behalf of all the widows and orphans left behind due to the unpopular war in Iraq. A holiday should be named for him.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  72. kerry

    In all fairness he should have them bronzed and returned with a special phrase lettered in gold like maybe "If the shoe fits throw it" or something like that.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  73. Mike CA

    Nothing severe because it was not life threating.
    Just hope that the press & world will not forget about him & follow what is done to him.

    December 17, 2008 at 3:59 pm |

    Let him loose, they have had enough war that should not have happened in the first place. They are sick of us being over there and killing innocent people. It is a good thing that Cheney wasn't there with his shotgun or he may have taken care of the guy.

    December 17, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  75. KB from Columbus, Ohio

    Isn't there an Olympic category for this already?

    December 17, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  76. john marlton nj


    December 17, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  77. Tino

    He should be made a national hero here to have had the nerve to do what no one here would do and then he should be given a ticker tape parade up Broadway.

    December 17, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  78. Janis, Lafayette, IN

    His punishment should fit his crime. Let the Iraqi people determine this.

    December 17, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  79. mitchell, arkansas

    fine him $10, give him a nobel peace prize for courage,the medal of freedom,build a giant statue of mr. al-zaidi, and put it in central park . i recommend a life of wealth and reward for such a modern day hero. i would like to see a shoe memorial of some kind for bush,too.

    December 17, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  80. Tom Abilene Tx

    Well,Bush just thinks it is democracy in action.In his warped view, it justifies his invasion and occupation of a foreign country.

    December 17, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  81. Kev - Cherry hill, New Jersey

    He should be given another chance at hitting him this time.

    December 17, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  82. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    Jack, I think he should market his own brand of shoes called, “Chuck at Ducks”.

    December 17, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  83. Veronica in Virginia

    Give him a standing Ovation & bronze his shoes!

    December 17, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  84. jack frost

    Give him the Silver Star and make him President of Iraq.

    December 17, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  85. Jeff in Connecticut

    They should name a World-wide Holiday after him.

    December 17, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  86. Ken @ Charlotte


    Give the guy a medal and ask him if he needs more shoes.

    December 17, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  87. Roland

    Make him stand barefoot in the middle of town wearing a sign that says, "I Shod Bush In The Head"

    St. George, UT

    December 17, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  88. Tony in Aurora, IL

    As "punishment," he should be put in some Iraqi government position. It gives him a chance to fix everything Bush's folks have screwed up, while also forcing him to think before he acts. I really dislike Bush, but come on – throwing shoes at a press conference is just plain dumb. It's like stealing donuts from a police station. You won't accomplish much and you WILL get caught.

    December 17, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  89. Kim VA

    A hearty thank you from America, then give him some target practice.

    December 17, 2008 at 5:58 pm |