Former U.S. diplomat Paul Bremer was speaking at a meeting organized by the Henry Jackson Society in British Parliament Wednesday when he became the latest victim of a “shoe” attack.
That is, a disgruntled man tried to throw his shoes at him.
The entire exchange, and what prompted it, was caught on video and has been posted to YouTube. It begins with a man identifying himself as a messenger of Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi people, as members of the panel look on with a mixture of polite confusion and curiosity.
When the man says “this is the first message” and throws something, all three men instinctively brace themselves for an attack before realizing it was only a shoe. When the next one is thrown, Bremer leaps up and tries to catch the flying footwear.
“You should improve your aim if you want to do something like that,” he chided.
The assailant was removed from the room, but continued yelling about “f***ing democracy” and how America has destroyed Iraq on his way out.
Fixing his tie, Bremer told the crowd: “If he had done that while Saddam Hussein was alive, he would be a dead man.”
The crowd began clapping and the administrator to Bremer’s right awkwardly attempted to steer the panel back to its intended discussion.
This isn’t the first time a “shoe” attack has disrupted official matters. Former U.S. President George W. Bush demonstrated his quick reflexes during a similar event in 2008, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the target of a flying shoe during his recent trip to Cairo.
Bremer served as the administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq after the U.S. invasion from May 2003 to June 2004.