Saddam Used a Hotel Floor to Insult George H.W. Bush
When the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein held a grudge, he sometimes used his absolute power to take it to ridiculous extremes. After his defeat by the U.S. and its allies in the first Gulf War in 1991, for example, Saddam's humiliation festered into a personal hatred for U.S. President George H.W. Bush.
One of the ways that Saddam chose to express it was to have a huge mosaic floor laid in the entrance of Baghdad's five-star al-Rashid hotel, with the tiles arranged to form a portrait of Bush. The idea was that people entering the hotel would be forced to tread upon Bush's face. In a Middle Eastern culture where striking someone with the sole of your shoe is a sign of disapproval, it was supposed to be a conspicuous affront [source: Robertson, Al-Zubaidi].
But Saddam's gesture didn't stop Bush's son, President George W. Bush, from leading another U.S.-led coalition that invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam's regime in 2003. U.S. soldiers then went to the hotel with hammers and chisels and dug out the mosaic of the former U.S. President. In its place, they laid a portrait of Saddam himself [source: Associated Press].