An Iraqi journalist has thrown his shoes at Bush in his last visit to Baghdad, shouting:
"This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog."
Shoes hurled at President Bush
Sunday, 14 December 2008
(Video - 1:35)
President Bush ducked out of harm's way when a reporter threw his shoes at him during his farewell trip to Iraq.
The man, later identified as Muntadar al-Zeidi, a correspondent for Iraqi-owned Al-Baghdadiya television based in Egypt, shouted "this is the end" as he hurled them at the American leader.
The moment was captured from different camera angles and shows the president's reaction afterwards.
Iraqi reporter throws shoes at Bush, calls him dog
Sun Dec 14, 12:57 pm ET
A video frame grab of President Bush ducking from a shoe during a news conference in Baghdad, December 14, 2008.
Shoe attack mars Bush's Iraq visit
Monday, December 15, 2008
00:43 Mecca time, 21:43 GMT
The shoe-throwing incident happened as Bush discussed falling levels of violence in Iraq [AP]
George Bush, the US president, has had a pair of shoes hurled at him at a press conference during his last surprise visit to Iraq before leaving office in January.
An Iraqi reporter called Bush "a dog" and shouted out "this is the end" at Sunday's news conference in Baghdad, before throwing his shoes at the US leader.
Bush, who had been giving a joint press statement with Nuri Al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, ducked behind a podium as the shoes narrowly missed his head.
He was reported to be unhurt after the attack by Muntadar al-Zeidi, a correspondent for Al-Baghdadiya television, the Associated Press news agency reported.
The outgoing US leader had just told reporters that while the war in Iraq was not over "it is decisively on its way to being won," when al-Zeidi got to his feet and hurled abuse - and his footwear - at the US president.
Sign of contempt
In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt.
Bush caught in shoe attack
"This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog."
The incident will serve as a vivid reminder of the widespread opposition to the US-led invasion of, and subsequent war in, Iraq - the conflict which has come to define Bush's presidency.
Bush shrugged off the incident and quipped: "All I can report is that it's a size 10."
Adil Shamoo, an Iraqi analyst at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC, told Al Jazeera: "I think we should go beyond the shoe and think about the fact that the US should respect Iraq's sovereignty in order to regain respect of the Iraqi people and the Arab world.
"I think Bush has increased terrorism against the United States and instablity in the Middle East because of his policies."
The US president was in Baghad for unannounced talks on the pact between Iraq and Washington that will see American troops leave Iraq by 2011.
Al-Maliki applauded security gains in Iraq and said that two years ago "such an agreement seemed impossible".
Bush's visit to the Iraqi capital came just 37 days before he hands the presidency over to Barak Obama, who has vowed to withdraw troops from Iraq.
Man throws shoes at Bush in Iraq
Dec 14 01:36 PM US/Eastern
By JENNIFER LOVEN
AP White House Correspondent
BAGHDAD (AP) - A man threw his shoes at President George W. Bush and was dragged away by security officials during the president's farewell trip to Iraq.
The incident occurred as Bush was appearing Sunday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Bush ducked and wasn't hit by either shoe. Bush joked, saying that all he can report was that it was a size 10 shoe. then calmly took questions.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
BAGHDAD (AP) His legacy forever linked to an unpopular war, President George W. Bush flew under intense security to Iraq on Sunday and called the nearly six-year conflict hard but necessary to protect the United States and give Iraqis hope.
Bush visited the Iraqi capital just 37 days before he hands the war off to President-elect Barack Obama, who has pledged to end it. At the end of nearly two hours of meetings at an ornate, marble-floored Salam Palace along the shores of the Tigris River, Bush defended the 2003 invasion and occupation.
"The work hasn't been easy, but it has been necessary for American security, Iraqi hope and world peace," the president said. "I'm just so grateful I had the chance to come back to Iraq before my presidency ends."
The president wanted to highlight a drop in violence in a nation still riven by ethnic strife and to celebrate a recent U.S.-Iraq security agreement, which calls for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011.
But in many ways, the unannounced trip was a victory lap without a clear victory. Nearly 150,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq fighting a war that is intensely disliked across the globe. More than 4,209 members of the U.S. military have died in the conflict, which has cost U.S. taxpayers $576 billion since it began five years and nine months ago.
Polls show most Americans believe the U.S. erred in invading Iraq in 2003. Bush ordered the nation into war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq while citing intelligence claiming the Mideast nation harbored weapons of mass destruction. The weapons were never found, the intelligence was discredited, Bush's credibility with U.S. voters plummeted and Saddam was captured and executed.
For Bush, the war is the issue around which both he and the country defined his two terms in office. He saw the invasion and continuing fight as a necessary action to protect Americans and fight terrorism. Though his decision won support at first, the public now has largely decided that the U.S. needs to get out of Iraq.
Air Force One, the president's distinctive powder blue-and-white jetliner, landed at Baghdad International Airport in the afternoon local time after a secretive Saturday night departure from Washington. In a sign of security gains in this war zone, Bush received a formal arrival ceremony a flourish absent in his three earlier trips.
Bush soon began a rapid-fire series of meetings with top Iraqi leaders.
He met first with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and the country's two vice presidents, Tariq al-Hashemi and Adel Abdul-Mahdi. "I've known these men for a long time and I've come to admire them for their courage and their determination to succeed," Bush said at the Salam as the sun set outside and darkness fell over Baghdad.
Talabani called Bush "our great friend," who "helped to liberate" Iraq.
Later, Bush's motorcade pulled out the heavily fortified Green Zone and crossed over the Tigris so he could meet Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at the prime minister's palace. [sentence omitted]
The two leaders sat down together for probably the last time in person in these roles. They planned a ceremonial signing of the security agreement a "remarkable document," according to Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley. He said the pact was unique in the Arab world because it was publicly debated, discussed and adopted by an elected parliament.
Hadley said the trip proved that the U.S.-Iraq relationship was changing "with Iraqis rightfully exercising greater sovereignty" and the U.S. "in an increasingly subordinate role."
The Bush administration and even White House critics credit last year's military buildup with the security gains in Iraq. Last month, attacks fell to the lowest monthly level since the war began in 2003. Still, it's unclear what will happen when the U.S. troops leave. While violence has slowed in Iraq, attacks continue, especially in the north. At least 55 people were killed Thursday in a suicide bombing in a restaurant near Kirkuk.
It was Bush's last trip to the war zone before Obama takes office Jan. 20. Obama won an election largely viewed as a referendum on Bush, who has endured low approval ratings because of the war and more recently, the U.S. recession.
Obama, a Democrat, has promised he will bring all U.S. combat troops back home from Iraq a little over a year into his term, as long as commanders agree a withdrawal would not endanger American personnel or Iraq's security. Obama has said that on his first day as president, he will summon the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the White House and give them a new mission: responsibly ending the war.
Obama has said the drawdown in Iraq would allow him to shift troops and bolster the U.S. presence in Afghanistan. Commanders there want at least 20,000 more forces, but cannot get them unless some leave Iraq.
The trip was conducted under heavy security and a strict cloak of secrecy. People who made the 10 1/2-hour trip with the president agreed to tell almost no one about the plans, and the White House released false schedules detailing activities planned for Bush in Washington on Sunday.
The new U.S.-Iraqi security pact, which goes into effect next month, replaces a U.N. mandate that gives the U.S.-led coalition broad powers to conduct military operations and detain people without charge if they were believed to pose a security threat. The bilateral agreement changes some of those terms and calls for all American troops to be withdrawn by the end of 2011, in two stages.
The first stage begins next year, when U.S. troops pull back from Baghdad and other Iraqi cities by the end of June.
Gen. Raymond Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said Saturday that even after that summer deadline, some U.S. troops will remain in Iraqi cities.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Please click here for a printable version of this report.