Iraqi shoe launcher inspires web games against Bush

DUBAI (Reuters) – A shoe-throwing incident at an Iraqi press conference with George W. Bush has inspired a series of internet games where players throw shoes at moving targets of the US president.

The games, which have mushroomed online and spread via email, range from animations to cut-outs from the now infamous Sunday press briefing when an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes on the president who ordered the invasion. from Iraq in 2003.

To peel someone with shoes on is considered a serious insult in the Arab world.

One game, which appears on www.sockandawe.com – a pun on “shock and awe,” the term used by US military officials to describe the initial air assault on Baghdad in 2003 – gives players 30 seconds to try to hit Bush with a shoe as many times as possible, the score appearing in a corner of the screen.

Players are greeted with the command: “OBJECTIVE: Hit President Bush in the face with your shoes!” Do it!”

Targeted shots receive a “well done” message.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki can be seen staring over a desk next to a Bush plunging and plunging into the cartoon game.

The television journalist who threw the shoes off, Muntazer al-Zaidi, became an instant sensation in the Arab world. A Facebook profile created in his honor had enlisted 1,871 fans on Wednesday afternoon, many of whom had posted disparaging messages about the outgoing US leader.

Zaidi, who admitted his action in court on Tuesday, remains in detention pending an investigation by the judge. He could face trial under a clause in the Iraqi penal code that punishes anyone who attempts to assassinate Iraqi or foreign presidents.

Zaidi’s family say he harbored deep anger at Bush, blaming him for the tens of thousands of Iraqis who died after the US-led invasion sparked a wave of sectarian and insurgent violence that begins only now to calm down.

Many mainstream Arabs opposed the US-led invasion and blame Bush for the violence that followed.

Another game at bushbash.flashgressive.de, includes a leader board where players can post their best scores.

An animated version – “a shoe at Bush?” – claims more than 2.2 million direct visits since its start date of Dec.15.

“Bush’s Boot Camp” begins with an audio quote from Bush saying “these weapons of mass destruction have to be somewhere.”

The White House, meanwhile, said Bush had no hard feelings about the shoe-throwing incident.

“The president just thinks that, it was just a shoe, people are speaking in different ways,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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About Irene S. Stroupe

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