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Muntader al-Zaidi’s words as he threw his shoes at the outgoing US President in the Green Zone in Baghdad this week may well become the epitaph for George Bush’s disastrous invasion of Iraq. It was a hugely symbolic act and was reminiscent of the beating with shoes by angry Iraqis of Saddam’s statue – toppled by US troops as the Iraqi capital fell to US forces - on the 9th of April 2003. Hurling his shoes at President Bush, al-Zaidi declared his act a ‘gift’ from the Iraqis, ‘a farewell kiss you dog’. Al-Zaidi concluded his rebuke of President Bush with the comment ‘This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq’. Al-Zaidi’s comments reflect the anger of many Iraqis at the arguably unnecessary loss of civilian lives during – and in the aftermath of – the US invasion of Iraq. It is estimated that up to a quarter of a million Iraqi men, women and children have lost their lives since the US invaded in March 2003. Many of the deaths have been attributed to a failure on the part of the US as occupying forces to properly secure and administer the country. Many reports, including one published by The Lancet cite the destruction of the country’s security, energy, health and food infrastructure by US forces and resistance groups during the invasion phase of the Iraq war and subsequent insurgency as central to the prolonged – and perhaps avoidable – suffering of the Iraqi people.
Clonan, T., 2008: Negroponte: Bush Legacy for Obama, Dublin: The Irish Times.