BREAKING: Shoe-Throwing Iraqi TOTAL WEENIE, Not in Fact Butch, Neener
Top conservative thinkers agree that Muntazer al-Zeidi, the man who threw his shoes at Bush, is a total Pansy Coward. Why, he only faces torture & arbitrary detention for his actions, not summary execution, as he would have done under Saddam. This argument makes sense to them, somehow, as I suppose it would to anyone whose powers of rhetoric and ethical reasoning peaked in a junior high schoolyard, the fuckers.
Yes, "fuckers." It’s an appropriate term; obscenity is fair use when describing the obscene. Take, more or less at random, this shithead:
Yeah, it was rude as hell for the Iraqi “journalist” to throw his shoes at Bush, but him and others in Iraq who are doing similary with photos of Bush probably haven’t stopped to think that if they were doing the same thing under a Saddam administration he’d torture them slowly before having them murdered.
Were this written in English, it would mean something like "al-Zeidi owes Bush, because now he can say he hates Bush in public." Which makes no sense. But what was probably intended was more like "Saddam wouldn’t let you throw shoes at him," which is true, but not exactly compelling evidence of freedom being all that much on the march.
Rather, it constitutes evidence of what "conservatives" like to call "moral relativism" when they want to accuse liberals of something they don’t themselves understand. Just how safe is it to run around Iraq criticizing the government nowadays, anyhow? Exactly how committed is the Maliki government to secular, democratic rule? You know, "the rule of law"? Well, I dunno exactly myself, but one clue might perhaps be that even with the whole world’s attention riveted on this one specific individual, the Maliki government still threw him in jail without even specifying on exactly what charge they were holding him, without letting his family have access to him. And, of course, beating the shit out of him so badly they couldn’t even produce him in court, where there might perhaps be cameras.
Because the relevant comparison is not between what would have happened to al-Zeidi if he’d thrown the shoes at Saddam, but what would have happened to him if he’d thrown the shoes at Maliki without the world media there to record it, or if the gesture were not sufficiently publicized to cause Maliki political agita. At least, that’s the relevant question anyone who actually gives a shit about human rights would ask, as opposed to "conservatives," whose reaction upon hearing that al-Zeidi was probably tortured was, more or less, "great"! Or at least, "what the hey, torture happens." Something an ingrate perhaps ought to expect.
For me, I’ll just point out that a human being is very likely being tortured right now for engaging in political speech, and the President of the United States could probably stop it and secure the guy’s release by making a really trivial effort, and it hasn’t occurred to him to do so. And neither has it occurred to our "conservative" friends, despite their always impressive commitment to "moral clarity." Because nothing is more morally clear than the idea that maybe torture ain’t all that bad, really, you know, blug glub foofer glug.