SO three years imprisonment is the tariff for throwing a shoe at the American president in Iraq at a press conference. Twenty four hours before the journalist Muntager al Zaidi was given that sentence in Baghdad yesterday, Saddam Hussein's former foreign minister and deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz was given fifteen years for crimes against humanity. The only possible conclusion from making that comparison is that Tariq Aziz got off lightly.

Obviously, Zaidi had to be punished but given all the circumstances a lesser sentence would surely have been appropriate. “When I saw Bush smile,“ he told the court, “ I imagined the millions of Iraqis killed on his orders.” Many, many people watching Bush's icy smirk at countless press conferences must have thrown a soft slipper at the television or in their imagination acted as Zaidi did. It has been suggested that he let down the journalistic profession by resorting to crude violence instead of asking Mr Bush a question about his justification for the war and the killing. He probably knew that had he done so he would have got an evasive reply. It is remarkable that neither George W Bush nor Tony Blair has ever said sorry for starting an unjustified and illegal war that led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, if not Mr Zaidi's “millions”, in Iraq and unsettled the whole region in ways from which it has not yet recovered. Where's the justice?