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. loyda, dc

    i do not agree with the war... my mom lost a neighbor out there an dmy husband can becall back from retirement at any time now because of it.....but.... this is just not the correct for to do it.....I don't think is fair to blame Bush alone..... Cheney, Rumsfield and a lot others were involved in the decision.....

    October 19, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. Frank Denver

    the truth hurts all these neo-cons....Bush has lust for power and will do anything to keep that power even at the peril of our troops..Stark told it like it is...this isnt imperial Rome folks

    October 19, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  3. John, Long Beach

    When BUSH was governor he mocked, "PLEASE DON'T KILL ME!, PLEASE DON'T KILL ME!" when he signed orders for execution. Just like Rumsfeld said, "OUR SOLDIERS ARE FUNGIBLE!" It's about time someone in Congress called our President for the sociopath that he is.

    October 19, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. Skip, New Haven,CT


    The only difference between me and Representative Stark is that I would have slapped and strangled two or three people in the White House while saying these words. This is the type of guy I want as President! STARK FOR PRESIDENT! I don't need someone pandering to what's politically correct or what the moral majority thinks is "acceptable." I need someone to tell me the truth in no uncertain terms and let the chips fall where they may. For too long we've had this "think it, but don't say it" mentality in Washington. Those days are over folks! If our military can go around the world and destroy entire countries and kill up a bunch of innocent people, certainly they can stomach a little criticism that wasn't even directed toward them. It was directed at the president and his party.

    This representative is just one of many who have grown tired of this botched invasion of Iraq- a third-world country in the making- thanks to George Bush. At some point, you have to grow tired of our infrastructure crumbling, our communities having to "apply" for grants created from our own tax dollars, poorly funded domestic programs, and a barely-functioning government that is incapable of handling a mediocre natural disaster in New Orleans. This man has grown tired and if I had the opportunity to tell the president these words to his face, I would!

    October 19, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. JB Oaktown, CA

    He right. They're all chickenhawks and the American People need to wake up and realize what is going on. To the people who write about this being bad and UnAmerican, I bet my mortage that while you put the sticker on your car, you don't have a loved one over there getting shot at. I would win a lot more than I'd lose.

    October 19, 2007 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  6. Vet in Kansas

    Comments made about a man who brags about being a War President. Might not have been politically correct, but you know I am sick and tired of politically correct statements because someone may not want to hear it or maybe offened.

    Just to remind you there was a time in our history when fist fights and duels erupted within the hallowed halls of Congress.

    As for the comment on Chicken Hawks, right on, them that have never served, tend to beat the drums of war the loudest amd proclaim patriotism at the expense of other. Maybe he got a little to close to home for some of elected officials. Let someone start a Chickenhawk web site and see who graces its pages.

    October 19, 2007 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  7. therealist

    This pitiful 110th Congress hasn't accomplished anything exactly because of liberal partisian pollution like Stark's.

    Worst Congress Ever!! Congradulations on that last election dems..

    October 19, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  8. David, Arlington, VA

    So this guy speaks his mind, expresses his anger and frustration over the war (that a majority of Americans share), calls out our president, DOES NOT insult the troops, and he gets lambasted for it? What a surprise. As usual, the Republicans focus on one phrase and turn the attention away from the actual point he was trying to make. This is what honest and open debate (and democracy) is all about. Look at a session of parliament in the UK when it's opended up to questions to the prime minister. They chew the guy's head off and demand answers and justifications! Shouldn't we expect the same from our elected representatives in Congress, who are there to check the power of the president and represent the citizens of this country?

    October 19, 2007 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. Jon H. , Denver, CO

    regardless of whether or not "he's right" (as someone else had said), where is his decency?

    October 19, 2007 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. Ed, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

    The comments stated by Rep. Stark is the reality of this nightmare. What, you expected a political correct statement! plz... This President has put this country on a edge of a cliff. I'd rather see him jump off to save all of us from dragging us with him.

    New direction is needed and a real leader! I can't believe that Gov's are capable of running a Country, just see the results of W. Bush! No experience, lack of everything else.

    October 19, 2007 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. Mary, Maryville, TN

    Good for Rep Stark! About time someone from the Democrat's side of the aisle find that they do have a voice. I agree whole heartedly with his comments. Where are the 'compassionate conservatives' when it comes to America's children's health? AWOL

    October 19, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  12. Renardo, Alexandria, VA

    To JB of Oakton, I'm a previous vet from the 1st Gulf War, and you are right, the people making the statment about Iraq, they probably don't have anyone serving, as a matter of fact I bet a lot of people posting there opinions on CNN haven't served, that's the most pitiful point of all, you do have the right to critisize, but until you have served you should keep it to a minimum!!!!!

    October 19, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. Jake, Boston Mass

    You have to respect that when asked for comment, instead of apologizing for everything and putting that cult-like smile on his face, he stuck to his guns. That's integrity, atta boy!

    October 19, 2007 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. Mary Rambler, Tampa, FL

    Stark was right and had the guts to say what others won't.
    He doesn't owe anyone an apology. He speaks for a lot of us who oppose this war and the stupidity of this administration and congress.

    October 19, 2007 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  15. Curt, Charleston, SC

    He's right, nothing to apologize for. The soldiers in Iraq are there for bush's LIES, and remain there for bush's LIES. What the bush regime has done, the tens of thousands dead and maimed – and all these fake patriots feign outrage at someone who has the guts to speak truth to power. Impeach the liars and bring the troops home!

    October 19, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  16. Lorraine Pulaski NY

    What would you expect from Stark? Last I knew he doesn't even believe there's a God.

    October 19, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. Matt, Pittsburgh

    Oh don't worry therealist, when the Dems take even more seats and have a filibuster proof margin, Madam President and congress with have no problem getting real things done, not just condemning an ad in the New York Times (i didnt even think Repukes read that). Your as much of a realist as Bush/Cheney.

    October 19, 2007 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  18. Pat Battle Ground WA

    I agree totally with his statement.
    Our men & women were initially sent
    cuz Saddam Had WMD's. Shrub was up on stage lookin under chairs, his podiium
    all around the stage trying to find those pesky WMD's. Made a speech for haves and have mores. This guy is an insane moron. Talkin about World War III. He's a war president, the decider, the commander guy. And Pelosi takes impeachment off the table!
    Why are we not allowed to see the flag draped coffins being offloaded on the airport tarmac, he supports our soldiers, bah! What noble cause are they dying for?

    October 19, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. Richard, St. Paul, MN

    More like: BUSH is "an insult to every American, Democrat or Republican." The White House muppets trawl out the same ol', same ol', whenever anybody suggests that the King is Naked, or when it's blatant that Bush is being a moron... again.

    October 19, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  20. Marcia, Boulder Colorado

    No language is too strong, no accusation too vile, to describe what this president has done to this country. This war is an abomination and the men who led us into it are villains and we might as well say so. Anyone who doubts it, I recommend reading "The War Prayer" by Mark Twain.

    October 19, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  21. straighttalker

    If he is sooooo against the war, why didn't he say the same thing about Nancy for taking withdrawal off the table?

    Hyprocrisy is so easy to see through..

    October 19, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  22. mark schmidt

    Pete Stark should run for president. He has the courage to speak the truth, and the honesty to display his anger, two qualities lacking in politicians for many years now.
    Bush has been a disgrace and an embarrasment to the US, and is nearly criminal in his disregard for the American people as well as the rest of the world.
    Bush may be the worst president in history to date.


    October 19, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. DS, FT Knox, KY

    For JB from CA, You are correct, I do not have "A" loved one over there getting shot at. I have two. My oldest boy is on his third tour, this time for 15 months. Does this make me "Pro-War"? OF COURSE NOT!! I don't know ANYONE who is pro war. No one (sane, anyway) WANTS war. I DO think this has gone on long enough, and we are at a point where the cost, both money and lives FAR exceeds the benefits, however, I would not go so far as to say the president is amused by our casualties. In terms of the vetoed health care bill, tho, I agree with the veto. The costs to the American public were outrageous! It is well past time that we took personal responsibility for our own children and either work to pay for thier needs, or if you can't afford those needs, DON'T HAVE KIDS!

    October 19, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. dhcobra, BSL, MS

    Senator Starks message is sad but true.

    I am sorry to say that it probably not stop till Mr. Bush leaves office.

    October 19, 2007 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. Daniel

    Campaign Diaries just released its latest detailed and full House ratings, with descriptions of every vulnerable House seat. Check it out here.

    October 19, 2007 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
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