I'm not so sure about this. Isn't it kind of important to make sure people aren't getting up and throwing things at public speakers? What if it had been a grenade?
What exactly are the charges? Is he actually in trouble for saying in Iraq what we all know in North America, or is it more of a "don't look like you're attempting to assassinate a world leader" thing?
"What if it had been a grenade?"
You mean like the shocking awesome tons of munitions we actually did drop killing thousands upon thousands of innocent Iraqis in an immoral illegal catastrophic war of choice relentlessly cheered on by the very man at whom the shoe was tossed?
Let me tell you, were nonlethal creampies and smelly shoes to be hurled at this lying ignorant self-satisfied warcriminal every day for the rest of his miserable life it would be quite fine and dandy with me. I would personally prefer that criminal charges and damning historical judgments be hurled instead, and that is my own preferred mode of recrimination, being as you know an effete elite aesthete and all, but I cannot say that I won't have a sunny smile for more palpable expressions of dissatisfaction that find their way to YouTube in years to come.
Yes, we can and already do all agree that assassination is wrong and I refuse to take seriously the suggestion that anything about my position of support for the journalist would be construed as suggesting otherwise to anybody without a highly questionable ideological axe to grind. But if what is wanted here is to stand on principle, I do think the thing for the Principled to be making sure of in this case is not that this man feel properly chastened for tossing a shoe but that this man is not being tortured or killed or shunted off into some deep hole for having the temerity to register in a public way "what we all know in North America" already.
This last felicitous phrase of yours, by the way, makes a claim I do not know that I agree with you about, because like any good pragmatist I cannot feel right about claiming that one can properly be said to "know" a thing at all until one's conduct reflects that knowing in a meaningful way. Now, that's something I scarcely see evidence of, really, given the amount of money, death-dealing, and rationalization still flushing our appalling war machineries as though everybody in North America actually "knows" something altogether different from what they claim to know... namely, that the war and occupation is and always has been illegal, immoral, devastating to all but a few war-profiteers, based on lies, and productive of mostly the opposite effects to the ones on the basis of which it was and is promoted by moneyed elites. If everybody really knows this, then why on earth are we acting the way we do?
That we elected Obama to end the war is encouraging, certainly, but the question whether we will actually truly leave any time soon, whether we will let the killer clowns of the Bush Administration get away with their self-congratulatory fabulizing, whether we will punish them for their monumental crimes or claim that all that is now "in the past" (something almost any criminal could say, by the way, without any expectation that this is somehow exculpatory), whether we will take back the ill-gotten gains of war-profiteers who benefited from this abomination, whether we will ever provide reparations for the damage we have done (the latest round of accusations that the Iraqis are "ingrates" is not particularly encouraging on this score, nor, frankly, the ambivalences being exhibited about support for Muntadar al-Zaidi, in my humble opinion), whether we will learn from our mistakes in a way reflected in our laws, our budgetary priorities, our expressed attitudes toward peacemakers as against warriors and so on all remains to be seen, and until I do see differences that make a difference I hesitate to grant that America knows what it says it now knows about this shattering brutal criminal episode in our history.