I just read that an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at President Bush at a press conference earlier this morning. President Bush was on a surprise visit to Iraq, and had said that the Iraqi war was not over, but "it is decisively on its way to being won." An infuriated journalist, Muntadhar al-Zaidi, jumped up calling the President a dog and yelling "this is the end." The President ducked just in time as the man's shoes flew over his head.
Watch a video of the incident here:
al-Zaidi was detained, but thousands of Iraqis are demonstrating for his freedom in Baghdad today. They claim that al-Zaidi's detention is a violation of the freedom of expression that the U.S. had promised it would bring into Iraq. Hundreds of lawyers, including various Americans and the man who defended Saddam Hussein, have offered to defend al-Zaidi for free.
Freedom of expression is important, yes. And, of course, the atrocities that have been committed in Iraq are horrible. But freedom is part of a package that includes responsibility. People who have the freedom to do and say what they want must be mature enough to act in a way that does not abuse that freedom. Muslims and Arabs should be the first people to support this statement, especially with their enraged reactions to the Danish cartoons. They can't demand that the West keep its freedom of expression within the boundaries of respect then turn around and support something like this.
I understand that the Bush administration has abused its power in Iraq, and that Iraqis have suffered tremendously because of the U.S.'s actions in the country. But that doesn't mean Iraqis must resist through pure insult. Doing so does not further the Iraqi cause or improve the image of Iraqi citizens in any way. It only makes it more difficult for them to legitimately resist U.S. presence within their borders.