October 19th, 2007
08:00 AM ET
7 years ago

Democrat: Soldiers dying for Bush's 'amusement'

Republicans quickly condemned Stark's comments Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. Pete Stark, D-California, is facing fire from Republicans for comments on the House floor Thursday suggesting Americans are dying in Iraq for President Bush's amusement.

Sharply critical of Bush’s veto of the children's health insurance legislation, Stark said Republicans are spending money "to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough … to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement."

Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan quickly condemned the comments, saying in a statement they are "an insult to every American, Democrat or Republican."

"The leaders of the Democrat Party, including Nancy Pelosi and their presidential candidates, need to stand up and make it clear that this kind of attack is unacceptable from any elected official," Duncan added.

Stark later issued a statement saying, "I have nothing but respect for our brave men and women in uniform and wish them the very best,” said Stark. “But I respect neither the Commander-in-Chief who keeps them in harms way nor the chickenhawks in Congress who vote to deny children health care."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney


Filed under: Iraq • President Bush
soundoff (587 Responses)
  1. Yury, NYC

    Why can't we, as a people, stop talking about the proper way to talk about the war. Instead, we should talk about the war itself, and stop chastising people who say things we disagree with. He criticized the President, and that is his right. He does not surrender his right to free speech merely by being elected.

    October 19, 2007 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. Adam, Des Moines, IA

    Although this comment is a little blunt, I am glad to see that someone is talking about how Bush obviously is not siding with the Nation and is doing what he pleases. Duncan's statement about this being a disgrace for all Americans is false; having Bush as a president is.

    October 19, 2007 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  3. pat huntington ny

    Yep, they trully are because Bush has messed this war up so badly, he's not going to do anything to stop it, or reploy the troops during the last year of his administration so he can pass on the fault of losing that war to the next president...so the congressman's comment is indeed correct – bush is sending the troops for slaughter for his own political goals.

    October 19, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. Brandon Wright, Austin, Texas

    Representative Stark is one of the few who are stepping out from the crowd and speaking the truth. The American people need to start facing the facts. If we keep falling into line behind our "fearless leader" we will soon find ourselves in World War III, which Bush is now gearing up for.

    October 19, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  5. James, Pheonix, AZ

    Welp, he's right.

    October 19, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. Pickles, Monaca, PA

    Hard words are sometimes necessary, and I am tired of posturing on both sides of the aisle. What is more outrageous, Stark's words or the carte blanche that the cowards in Congress gave the President to initiate this war in the first place?

    October 19, 2007 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  7. Leighton Cubbage Greenville, South Carolina

    It's sad to see a Congressman say something like this. Maybe when you are
    trying to make a point and you lose your temper things like this get said. With our instant media there's no way to take it back.I doubt that Congressman Stark would have wanted this type of press or publicity.

    October 19, 2007 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. Kurt Struder, Leesburg, Va.

    Typical far left Californian drivel.

    October 19, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    Up next: spitting on service members at airports.

    October 19, 2007 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. sonny c. v.p.,la.

    Pete Stark is one guy who's not afraid of the Republican Slime Machine a/k/a the attack dogs in Orwell's "Animal Farm". Tis better to be "over the top" than to sit in silence & denial to a great wrong happening before you very eyes. Isn't that what happened during the rise of Fascism in Europe after WWI ?

    October 19, 2007 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  11. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    You cannot claim to support American service members serving in harms way, while simultaneously seeking to discredit, undermine and derail both their mission and their commander.

    To undermine their commander or their mission, in effect, is to undermine those forces whose boots are on the ground "downrange."

    It's no different than claiming to support these service members, while simultaneously sabotaging their supplies, ammunition or weaponry.

    October 19, 2007 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  12. my911call, Wilmington, NC

    The truth hurts, but he is right.
    We are in Iraq trying to clean up the president's mess with the lives of our soliders. Somebody has blood on their hands.

    October 19, 2007 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Bring it on and let the real war begin against the alcoholic idiot twice elected to an office he can't handle and all who support him.

    October 19, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. Kenneth Dills--Cullowhee,N.C. 28723

    Thanks for standing up for the thruth. I agree with these statements and I'm tired of the THE Bush Administration shifting the focus evertime they are asked the tough questions.The President and the Republicans veto the Democratic Healthcare plan(it,s too expensive they say)yet they don't have any problem with spending trillions over the next 5 years along with the lose of life and mangled bodies of thousandsof our young men and women in uniform. I WOULD LIKE FOR the PRESS TO ASK THEM THIS and to take them to task for these issues.

    October 19, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  15. Rafi, New York, NY

    "...an insult to every American, Democrat or Republican."

    How was it an insult? I'm an American, and I don't feel insulted.

    I'm tired as it is of politicians pretending to be offended by every stupid little thing–of course they're not really insulted; you don't get to be a politician with skin that thin–but it's much more annoying when they tell me when I should be offended.

    October 19, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. Connie, Troy NY

    wow, that was a little risky but you got to admit alot of people are probably thinking the same thing...

    October 19, 2007 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. RJ, SV, AZ

    Same old same old for America. Ignore 99% of what he said and focus on a single word. Sounds like high school debate team rather than Congress.

    October 19, 2007 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  18. Jeff C, San Francisco

    Not for the president's amusement, of course, but what ARE people dying for in Iraq? No plausible purpose, no end in sight, no realistic goal, no exit strategy – would it be more accurate to say soldiers and civilians are dying for no good reason at all?

    October 19, 2007 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  19. Frank Virginia Beach VA

    CNN, you are the worst, you are as bad as Stark! Where are my comments that speak to my anger and contempt of STARK?

    October 19, 2007 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  20. Russell Ensley, Greenville SC

    Anyone who thinks this is appropriate is a sick puppy. This guy is an embarrassment to the USA. What a lowlife. There are soldiers dying in Iraq, and this guy only pumps the enemy up to do more.

    October 19, 2007 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  21. bertha fitton, belleville, nj

    While I would not have added the "for Bush's amusement" even tho' we are observing a cowboy presidency, it's well known that telling the truth is dangerous and one should only do so if they keep their knees loose and run afterward. With due respect for the office of the president and my first amendment rights, I would have used the phrase "for Bush's legacy."
    God bless Rep. Stark for his courage, but not perhaps for his choice of words.

    October 19, 2007 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  22. cb

    Finally, someone who stands up and speaks the truth – not very popular these days in this country. Bravo to Representative Stark. We need more like him to stand up to this administration which is destroying this country and everything it stands for.

    October 19, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  23. Luke Brown, Charleston SC

    "Amusement" was probably not the most precise word Congressman Stark could have used. "Illusions" or "ignorance" would have been better choices, and more representative of what most Americans think.

    October 19, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  24. r schier norwalk,ct

    It may have been over the top, but this is what comes with having had just about enough of this atrocious policy for 4 years now....enough is enough is enough....I'm not sure this
    country can withstand the remaining 14 months from every and any angle...when
    are Bush/neo-con Inc. going to realize that their global govt aspirations are policy developed by, and for, clown...

    October 19, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. John Mershon, mystic, ct

    Though a bit harsh, Stark has, atleast, shown some strength. Something that has been severely lacking to date.

    October 19, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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