October 23rd, 2007
01:30 PM ET
11 years ago

Stark apologizes for saying troops die for Bush's 'amusement'

Watch Stark's apology on the House floor Tuesday..

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. Pete Stark, D-California, apologized Tuesday on the House floor for his recent comments saying troops in Iraq were getting "their heads blown off for the president's amusement."

The apology came shortly after House Republicans failed in their effort to formally censure Stark for the remark.

"I do apologize, and for this reason, I think that we have a serious issue before us, the issue of providing medical care to children, the issue of what we do about a war that we are divided about how to end," Stark said. "I hope that with this apology I will become as insignificant as I should be and that we can return to the issues that do divide us, but that we can resolve in a better fashion."

Democrats successfully blocked a resolution by a 196-173 vote to censure Stark for "personally abusive language toward the president and members of the House" and "despicable conduct."

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Stark "dishonored our soldiers" and said the House can't "afford to let these kinds of remarks go unanswered."

Stark made the controversial comments during a debate over President Bush's veto of children's health care legislation last week.

–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

Filed under: Iraq
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. Tom, Anaheim, CA

    Just like the House and Senate, make the frustation and comment the issue and avoid the issue. These men and women are true genius at deflecting to the irrelevant.

    Pray for the folks in San Diego...

    October 23, 2007 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    I agree the republicans say whatever they want. The perfect example is Ann Coulter's derogatory remarks about the Jewish Religion, bordering on, if not out right anti-Semitic. Did you hear any comdemnation on the conservative talk shows, the driving force in the media? Of course they protect their own.
    Fox News said when she appears on their station she will face hard questions about her comment, but when she appeared on O'Reilly's show all he did was denigrade the host of the show where Coulter made her remarks and did not discuss what she said.

    October 23, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Tim - New Brunswick, NJ

    REp Stark had EVER right to say what he said...primarily because he is right!!! THey ARE just being killed for Bush's Amusement. Keep in mind people that Bush is PERSOANLLY responsiible for killing more AMERICAN citizens then Bin Laden did on Sept. 11.

    October 23, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. Tom, Anaheim, CA

    While I don't believe Cheney and Bush are amused at the death of American soldiers I sincerely believe they don't worry about it. Soldiers are "assets" to them, sometimes assets are lost. They remain detached emotionally. After a few thousand deaths a callus builds up and they don't even think about it at all.

    October 23, 2007 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  5. Hannah Lexington Kentucky

    He didn't dishonor the soldiers...but he did, however, dishonor the Commander in Chief. Whom I DO NOT like....but nonetheless, he is the president.

    October 23, 2007 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. Ben, Baltimore, MD

    The defeatist party is out of control. Anyone who thinks this guy was right to say what he did is an idiot and you dont deserve to be called an American.

    Its like the old saying goes.
    Republican think Democrats are stupid.
    Democrats think Republicans are evil.

    My take on that saying is this.....Democrats think Republicans are evil because their too stupid to understand the big picture.

    October 23, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  7. Donald Penniall

    Yeah, Dems suport the troops! Ha, Rep. Stark displayed the dems true feelings during his speech. He should not apologize for something he really feels pasionate about. If he and his fellow dems had guts they would de-fund the war.

    October 23, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. Ashish, Hartford CT

    There is nothing worng with the comments that he made. But he made a big mistake by apologizing.

    To Doc in RI:
    With all due respect Sir, no one is trying to undermine the sacrifice that your children are making for this country. People are trying to question the motive behind this war; and rightly so. Truth is always painful. But you should learn to accept it. It is fact that America is not one bit safer than it was prior to 9/11. Osama and Al-Qaeda are still thriving. Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack.

    Do you want everyone to shut up in honor of the fallen so that we can continue to lose more young lives?

    October 23, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. pat huntington ny

    Why should he apologize for speaking the truth? Bush and Cheney have a blast in the White House basement watching Bloopers and PRactical Jokes from the Iraq War, showing our soilders being killed there for no reason but the biggest joke played on us all – that WMDs were in Iraq when they weren't and they knew it, and there was no chance we could bring democracy to the middle east...they don't want it there!

    October 23, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. Tres Hewlett

    Hey Doc, why don't you just cry about it? Man, I can feel your angst and frustration. Sounds like you could use a hug.

    October 23, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. randy, va

    There are no morals in politics and this is a prime example. Asked Mr Stark if he served in the Armed Forces? I can answer that, no. If he did he wouldn't say something so disgraceful. Shame on you Mr. Fool.

    October 23, 2007 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. Theresa B., San Francisco, CA

    democrats are wimps. i expected this.

    October 23, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  13. Randy, Corvallis, OR

    It is unfortunate that Mr. Stark allowed his strings to be yanked by the GOP, a group of thugs that is the very essence of dishonor.

    October 23, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  14. linda, fairfax, va

    no need to apologize when what he said is so TRUE!

    October 23, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. PSK Lakeside, AZ

    Rep. Stark seems a decent man- while he may have stepped over the line in the WAY he phrased his comment- he certainly need not continue to apologize for voicing the same frustration many of us are feeling. Our commander-in-chief has sullied us in the eyes of the world- his rampaging warmongering has gotten us into such a chasm- we may never extricate ourselves from this war- the after-effects will be long-lasting and painful. He has failed miserably in New Orleans- he has failed miserably with children's health care- he has turned the Oval Office into a hotbed of hidden secrets and back room deals- not seen since the Nixon administration. So, while Rep. Stark might have phrased his comment in a different light- he was right on the button in what he was trying to convey. How we get out of this mess, I don't know- but it'll take alot of pulling together. It's time the republicans stop backing this lame duck for the sake of the PARTY and started working for the good of the NATION. I'm afraid Mr. Bush has forgotten that that is his job- his only job. We Americans have, unfortunately, been left to fend for ourselves.

    October 23, 2007 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  16. 24 months in combate for your sorry butt

    I will bet that ever person who did not find offense with Stark's comment that they have never honorably served in the military. Easy to say Stark's comments were fine when you never put your life on the line for your country. They should thank their lucky stars for the men and women of this country that gave the ultimate sacrifice for the right these pathtic individuals so easily take for granted.

    October 23, 2007 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. Pam P - Tucson, AZ

    It's embarassing to know that one of our US representatives would say something like this about our President. Simple respect for the office has gone away. Opinions are ok, but saying something that rude is completely out of line. I think he should lose his seat. I've wanted to switch from being a registered democrat to republican, and this is enough to make me do so.

    October 23, 2007 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  18. Steve, Lyons, CO

    Dammit. Why the hell is he apologizing? He spoke the dead-on truth.

    Wimps. We don't hear Republicans apologizing for their much more numerous lies.

    October 23, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  19. PSK Lakeside, AZ

    As an aside- we are so dang intent on "saving" Iraq from civil war (gee- wonder what precipitated that?)- I wonder what Americans would of thought if some nosy country had invaded the US in order to intervene in our OWN civil war. Just because we think we are right, does not give us the right to invade willy-nilly to give the gift of democracy.

    October 23, 2007 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Randy, Albany, OR

    I am glad the Democrats finally united on something. The will of the American people rose above reproach as the democrats blocked a resolution to censure Pete Stark for articulating his belief on the Bush Administration's foreign policy failure. Pete Stark's comment appeared abusive toward GOP House members because GOP House members do not have the collective will to defend the Constitution, represent the American people, and believe their president is above the law. The GOP is truly dishonoring America, American's, the Constitution, and honest fighting men by allowing the Bush Administration to play politics with the lives of young Americans and Iraqi children.

    October 23, 2007 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Hey, don't forget what Rumsfeld said when military officers asked for better supplies, "stop complaining, you go to war with what you've got". And what they had did get their heads blown off. I don't agree with what Stark said nor did I hear Bush or Rumsfeld make an apology.

    October 23, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. Andy Merrimack,NH

    Stark should be ashamed of himself, cowering from Bush's GOP attack machine. Apologies to bullies are worthless.

    October 23, 2007 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    >My take on that saying is this…..Democrats think Republicans are evil because their too stupid to understand the big picture.

    >Posted By Ben, Baltimore, MD

    It's funny how both sides think the other is full of stupid people. I guess most of us are pretty stupid to follow either party without an open mind, huh?

    And to answer your not-so-witty comment, Ben, I would say that MOST Democrats (or liberals or progressives) are the smart ones who can see the complexities of the world and various socities. MOST conservatives, on the other hand, do nothing but repeat simplistic rhetoric that they hear from their talk radio gods or from their preachers on TV.

    No need to argue with me on this one, since this is proven on a daily basis here on the Ticker. See how many people make a reference to VD on the post about Hillary and Bill's relationship for an example.

    October 23, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. David, Arlington, VA

    What is wrong with you people? He didn't insult the troops, he called out President Bush for a failed policy that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of our troops. Am I missing something here? He also spoke his mind and exercised his right to free speech in his attempt to speak truth to power. What's more American than that?

    October 23, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  25. A.lcee Tavarez

    To Doc in Rode Island, get a life. I have a son, and Iraq War Veteran, who will never be the same young man that he was before he went to war, and if it's okay by him if Congressman Stark saidwhat he did. Please respect his opinion, and he will respect yours.

    October 23, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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