Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
December 14, 2008

Lame (Duck) Iraq Visit Guarantees Bush Shoe-In As Worst President Ever

1.In this image from APTN video, a man, centre throws a shoe at US President George W. Bush, background left, during a news conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008, in Baghdad, Iraq. On an Iraq trip shrouded in secrecy and marred by dissent, President George W. Bush on Sunday hailed progress in the war that defines his presidency and got a size-10 reminder of his unpopularity when a man hurled two shoes at him during a news conference. (AP Photo)

2.In this image from APTN video, an man throws a shoe at President George W. Bush during a news conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008, in Baghdad. The man threw two shoes at Bush, one after another. Bush ducked both throws, and neither man was hit. (AP Photo/APTN)

3.U.S. President George W. Bush (L) ducks after a man threw a shoe at him during a joint statement with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (R) in Baghdad, December 14, 2008.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque   (IRAQ)

4.Security personnel surround U.S. President George W. Bush (C) after a man threw a shoe at him during a joint statement with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (2nd R) in Baghdad, December 14, 2008.     REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque   (IRAQ) REUTERS

So much for greeting us with flowers.

…I know it’s not fair to read in like this, but #3 is there because it captures, at least in part (for me, at least), not just disgust and disappointment, but an Iraqi sense of fatalism. For Maliki, who lives in a country where everyone wears a bulls eye, I sure he felt Bush didn’t even get a taste.

For Bush, as we’ve been chronicling for the past few weeks, it’s just more confirmation how desperate (and sunk) he is to salvage his legacy. What was the translation? “This is a goodbye kiss, you dog!”

And, as for Karl, regarding this now-defining incident in this stunt-of-a-trip, it’s just more confirmation politics surely is TV with the sound off.

Particularly interested in any thoughts you had on #4.

More: Not sure you remember this from ‘o5. If you click through, though, you’ll see where former Iraqi PM (and U.S. favorite) Allawi was thought to be the subject of an assassination attempt in Najaf. Turned out, however, it was worse than that, given the culture significance of the shoe….

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Video via NYT.

(image 1 & 2: AP Photo/APTN. image 3 & 4: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque: Reuters caption: In this image from APTN video, a man, centre throws a shoe at US President George W. Bush, background left, during a news conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008, in Baghdad, Iraq. On an Iraq trip shrouded in secrecy and marred by dissent, President George W. Bush on Sunday hailed progress in the war that defines his presidency and got a size-10 reminder of his unpopularity when a man hurled two shoes at him during a news conference.)

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