When Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw his shoes at George W Bush there was a consensus that the then President of the United States had handled the incident well, deftly ducking out of the way and apparently laughing off the incident.
Sadly, Laura Bush’s ‘not amused’ stance gave away how the president really felt; it was an assault, she said, before speculating on what Saddam Hussein would have done.
Fortunately, that Saddam is Laura Bush’s moral yardstick is no longer worth fretting about. But that Muntadhar al-Zaidi, having been severely beaten in Iraqi custody, has apparently applied for asylum in Switzerland is. Bush could have made one last stab at persuading the world that he had some worthy ideals by forgiving al-Zaidi.
It is mistakes like this that have made halting show trials and closing Guantanamo so important that Obama. He has just a short time to prove America can change and can stand for something better.