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. PSK Lakeside, AZ

    Dear 24 months- My father was a career military man. My mother, sisters & I spent many worried days when he was in Vietnam. PLEASE do not ever think this country does not respect what you & your fellow soldiers (all branches) do every day you spend/spent in that hell hole, or anywhere else in this dangerous world. We are not disrespecting your efforts, dedication and sacrifices. What we are saying, is that none of you should have been sent there in the first place. What we are saying, is, decisions were made from the Oval Office, that put us in a place we had no business being. I salute your contributions, 24 months- VERY much. I believe we all do.

    October 23, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    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.

    Posted By Steve, Lyons, CO : October 23, 2007 3:28 pm


    I'm glad he said it too – although for a different reason. We get to see who the REAL kooks are out here posting comments how they truly agree with Stark – that the President is AMUSED by the death of US Soldiers.

    Only a moron would say such a lie – and only single-digit IQs believe the lie!

    October 23, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. Jaik , chicago, IL

    It was weak of him to apologize, what good does it do ? He was 100% right, the war was all a game by the GOP that has no fruits at all for anyone except their military contractors. Kids who need college money are going to get killed for a lie, just to keep Bush Jr feeling smug and tough, when the outcome of the mission is allready plain. Who is going to censure GOP senators for their libelous attacks during the last election ? Democrats weak enough to apologise for telling the truth don't deserve to be in th congress.

    October 23, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. carmassi, los angeles, california

    Hey Doc,
    You're the one who needs to keep his trap shut. My nephew was killed in Iraq, and my nephew's cousin was killed in Iraq. Anonymous is right and you're wrong. If you think Bush is right about Iraq then do us all a favor and enlist and ask to be send to Iraq. That way a soldier who's already over there can come home. Put your money where your mouth is.

    October 23, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    At least Democrats have the smarts to realize when they have screwed up and the cojones to admit it.

    Conservative Republicans don't have a clue.

    October 23, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. demwit

    pssssssst, democracy is taking hold in Iraq but don't let it get out until after the election..

    October 23, 2007 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  7. Chris, Middletown, CT

    There are "rules" in the house....you are NOT allowed to personally attack another member or the president (thats the real rules) – now...regardless of party affiliation – someone of principle would choose to enforce the "laws" – now....it almost like when Bill Clinton testified under a sworn oath that he did not "have sexual relations with that woman" – we know this was a lie....and this was also under "oath" – which is a crime (regardless of whether or not you believe the crime wasn't that bad...or a personal issue) – it shows that rules no longer apply....same goes for both parties....

    October 23, 2007 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  8. Brendan Q, NJ

    He apoligized, becasue what he said was WRONG. We may be in this war for the wrong reasons, and against our will, but for Stark to say Bush is entertained by carnage is a disgrace to the Congress, the military, and our nation. Their is no way that even dumb dumb Bush enjoys seeing America's sons & daughters die in combat. Its sick at vile.

    October 23, 2007 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. CB Seattle

    Posted By 24 months in combate for your sorry butt :

    If you were not fighting to defend the constitution and the right that we all have to speak what is on our mind, what were you fighting for??

    October 23, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. bprossersme

    Too late, jack! Your evil acid-tongue has already burned another hole in the fabric of our flag, again.

    October 23, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. bprossersme

    Too late Sparky, your evil acid-tongue has already burned another hole in our flag, again. You people are disgusting. Irresponsible children.

    October 23, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. joseph austn tx

    Ann coulter isnt a politician she can say what she wants. if she was in office she would have to bite her tounge so she can be PC like everyone else. so please grow up and see the difference between the two people.

    October 23, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. Angela, Alexandria, VA

    I respected him more before the apology.

    October 23, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  14. Linda Carter, Portland, OR

    Carl Rove with backing from Bush attacked Sen Cleland (Vietnam veteran)and compared him with Osama Bin Laden. Sen Kerry was attacked by Swift Boat veterans stating that he faked his injuries. No republican has condemned that kind of attack. These people are chickenhawks whweras Mr. Stark is a real man who admitted his mistake. It requires real courage. I don't think the congressmen like John Bohner will ever have that.

    October 23, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. Peggy

    Why was this not played more in the news? He should resign. That is the most cruel, insensitive, and uncouth remark that I have heard in a long time. His apology is worthless. We lost a friend in Iraq and I don't believe his family thinks it was for the amusement of anyone.

    October 23, 2007 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. Chet in Lake Havasu Arizona

    24 months in combate for your sorry butt;

    Hey here's a 411 for you. You never went in combat for my sorry butt. I'm under no threat from the Iraq army or militants. But I am under threat from a blind bunch of soldiers that are brainwashed into thinking they are "defending freedom". The freedom you defend is for corporations to rake in billions by exploiting countries and overthrowing goverments. You are/were part of a hegemonic war system. It's not protecting our Constitution, in fact it's corrupting it. But let me ask you this question, if your commander in chief, Dick Cheney told you to go to New Orleans and surpress a popular uprising because it was a terrorist threat would you do it? Would you shoot your fellow Americans if ordered to do it? Would you arrest your fellow Americans if ordered to do it?

    October 23, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. mechele

    he did the right thing
    thats wt he have to do when he says this kind of wards about the president in the troops

    October 23, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    A person of honor can disagree and still retain his honor, his gentility and his dignity. This is called "adulthood."

    Stark represents exactly what has gone wrong not only with this country in general, but my former polical party, the Democrats, specifically: A total lack of civility and gentility (or simply behaving like a nation of adolescents).

    This all began in American in the 1960s when liberals began stating "the personal is political."

    It's been all downhill since then.

    Stark is a disgrace not only to his family, his nation, his constituents, his fellow congressmen and his title as Congressman, but a disgrace to himself, as well.

    We can disagree on all sorts of topics, and that's fine. But we don't have to behave like petulant adolescents simply because we don't get our way in life.

    Grow up and behave in a manner deserving of your title of Congressman.

    October 23, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. Wynter, Loudon, NH

    To therealist,

    Why is it that people like yourself always have to spin whatever occurs. If he doesn't apologive you would call him a Coward. If he does apologize you whine that the others do the same. Give me a break! Your so politically simpleminded that its no use trying to reach you. You don't want to agree with anyone that is a democrat. You are no Realist, maybe you should just change your name to Misanthrope... it fits your politics.

    Telling it like I see it,

    October 23, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  20. Ed, Dallas, TX

    This is totally political. Same on the Repubs for politicizing this statement. Don’t they have better things to do like try to solve domestic problems? Nope, they just want to go after the Dems and score political points anyway they can. I totally agree that our soldiers are dying for Bush and Chaney’s amusement. I think Starks said nothing wrong. This is nothing any worse than neo cons like Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, or Glen Beck say everyday about their opposition. There is a double standard in the country – the neo cons think they can intimidate, lie and cheat without any consequences, but apply a different standard for everyone else. Bush and his neo-cons are the sole reason this country is so divided. Bush = the great divider!!!

    October 23, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  21. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    One more thing that needs correcting:

    The men and women who raised their hands and took an oath to defend this nation wearing the uniform of America's fighting forces are exactly that: MEN and WOMEN.

    They are NOT kids.

    If a 13 year old has enough maturity and life experience to make the decision to terminate a pregnancy, then an 18 year old man or woman certainly has enough maturity to take the oath to defend this nation.

    Don't belittle them or their mission by calling them kids.

    These are the same men and women who fought, killed and died in all of this nation's wars. They have the same will. They have the same determination. They have the same fortitude.

    Don't belittle them.

    In fact, you should stand in awe of them, for they possess something that most of you simply do not, nor ever will: honor.

    (And before you start typing your "chickenhawk" retorts, I've already served 10 years in uniform.)

    October 23, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  22. Daniel

    In other down the ballot news, a new poll shows Dems are about to win the Kentucky governorship, as the Republican incumbent trails by 20.

    October 23, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  23. Chris, FL

    Looks like the elite gave him a good tongue lashing. Bravo Stark. Way to be a man.

    October 23, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  24. bprossersme

    Keep it in, CNN. Stark is a product of the force behind Democrats, soras. There has been a lot of money behind bashing Bush. A complete campaign to hate Bush. Check your reasons for hating Bush to see if it's real or being paid for.

    October 23, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. bennett, chapel hill NC

    "despicable conduct?"

    umm... any reason the president hasn't been censured for this yet?

    October 23, 2007 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
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