THIRTY-FIVE days, ten hours and fifty minutes, at the time of writing, are all that is left of the presidency of George W Bush, according to my “Bush timer” - long enough, however, for him to get into more trouble before leaving the White House. The shoe-throwing incident in Baghdad could have been much worse but the image of Mr Bush ducking behind the lectern while the Iraq prime minister al-Maliki stood beside him quite unperturbed will be repeated endlessly on TV in the Middle East. It is not surprising that Muntader al-Zeidi, the shoe-thrower, was angry. He had just heard Mr Bush say that the war had been necessary “for American security, Iraq hope and world peace”. What an astonishing claim to make. The reference to American security suggests that the president still thinks that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction or still believes that al-Qaeda was present in Iraq before it took advantage of the war and moved in immediately in its aftermath. As for “world peace”! Can he point to a single place on the world map where peace exists because of the invasion of Iraq? I doubt it - although there are quite a few places where increased tensions and even hostilities have followed the invasion. And to speak of “Iraqi hope” was cruel when so little has been achieved towards a stable society during America's five-and-a-half years of occupation.


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