Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Shoe-in for the Low Point

Last Sunday, as all the world now knows, an Iraqi journalist at a news conference threw first one, then the other of his shoes at President Bush's head.

Smirking, Bush ducked both times and later said "So what?"

No doubt comics the world over felt a week's worth of material had been written for them, and "the Arab street" has made the journalist a folk-hero. But for any American who cares what the world thinks of his/her country, the act becomes--once the chuckling has died down--a deep humiliation. Worse is the clear sense that Bush was asking for it (having invaded the journalist's nation on a liar's dare).

Perhaps more wretched than any of that is the apparent fact that Bush neither understands the sadness of the moment (not for him but for his country), nor cares.

"So what?"? Is that the best you can come up with? Having been subjected to the worst insult an Arab can throw, you, Mr. President, as the representative of your people, can offer no more reflection nor care than "So what?"?

How many years of good will and intelligence will the next President have to muster before the damage to our national image can be repaired?

It is all of a piece, sadly for us all. You're doing a heckuva job, Bushie.