One person Bush should pardon

The journalist who threw a shoe at George W. Bush has been badly mistreated in jail, according to his brother: Muntadar al-Zaidi has suffered a broken hand, broken ribs and internal bleeding, as well as an eye injury, his older brother, Dargham, told the BBC. […] Mr Zaidi told our correspondent that despite offers from ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
591039_081216_bushshoe5.jpg
591039_081216_bushshoe5.jpg

The journalist who threw a shoe at George W. Bush has been badly mistreated in jail, according to his brother:

Muntadar al-Zaidi has suffered a broken hand, broken ribs and internal bleeding, as well as an eye injury, his older brother, Dargham, told the BBC. [...]

Mr Zaidi told our correspondent that despite offers from many lawyers his brother has not been given access to a legal representative since being arrested by forces under the command of Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser.

The journalist who threw a shoe at George W. Bush has been badly mistreated in jail, according to his brother:

Muntadar al-Zaidi has suffered a broken hand, broken ribs and internal bleeding, as well as an eye injury, his older brother, Dargham, told the BBC. […]

Mr Zaidi told our correspondent that despite offers from many lawyers his brother has not been given access to a legal representative since being arrested by forces under the command of Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, Iraq’s national security adviser.

The head of the Iraqi journalists union contradicts Zaidi’s report, but I would hope that at a bare minimum, President Bush takes steps to ensure that this man is not being beaten for the crime of embarrassing him.

In fact, if Bush was in any way sincere after the incident when he said, “That’s what people do in a free society, draw attention to themselves,” he really ought to request that Zaidi be pardoned. This wouldn’t just be a magnanimous act. It would be smart politics as well.

The longer Zaidi stays in jail and the worse he is treated, the more likely he is to become a symbol of anti-Americanism in Iraq. What better way for Bush to show he wasn’t rattled by the incident and neutralize Zaidi’s symbolic value than by pardoning him?

Would freeing Zaidi rehabilitate Bush’s reputation in Iraq? Of course not. But it might take away one headache for his successor.

Photo: Abid Katib/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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