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. Mary, Wakefield Ma

    There is a litte thing called Free Speech. I am still waiting Bush to apologize for getting us into a war with faulty intelligence.

    October 19, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. Dale, Oak Park MI

    He should not apologize. That is his opinion and there are already too many witchunts in politics today over people saying what they think.

    Conservatives demand an apology because language against the war is becoming more abrasive, threatening, and mainstream. They are grasping desperately for anything they can use to fill their empty cannons.

    October 19, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. Matt, Reading PA

    Gary from OR:

    killing bin laden does not end terrorism. sure it would be great to kill the leader, but it surely will not end this war on terrorism.. it takes more than just killing bin laden to fight terrorism, unfortunately

    October 19, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. Bill

    Talk about hypocrisy. If a Republican said something this over the top, every lib/democrat would be demanding he resign. I cant believe no democratic leader is denouncing these comments. Just shows how low the Democratic party has sunk since the days of JFK.

    October 19, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. DaveNate, Aurora IL

    Hmm, George Bush mocked a death row inmate, laughs before serious speaches about war, tortured animals as a child. Over the top you say? I think it could be scary accurate

    October 19, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. Sandy Grand Rapids MI

    I agree with this representative. We can not fund SCHIP but we can find all kinds of money that we don't have for this war!
    I believe he is saying what most people think! I don't want any apology from him and I praise him for speaking out!
    When we have to eventually raise taxes to pay for this war where will all of you be than!

    October 19, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Bill

    Lets face it the, the Dems have been politicizing this war since the 2006 elections. They are scared to death that the surge is working and have to root against their own country to lose in Iraq for their own political gain. All you passionate anti-war/hate bush crowd are being used by the Democrats.

    October 19, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. John

    Finally I have the answer to a burning question. With comments such as those from Allen from Cambridge, MA and SickDemocrats from Boston (see above) I can now understand how such a wonderfully progressive state like Massachusetts could have elected a neo-con like Mitt Romney as their governor.

    October 19, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Johnny B. Truth, ME

    I'm glad to see that common sense still exists when reading a few of these comments. For those of you who still don't get it, let me explain: Stark is just telling it like it is. A lot of people don't want to believe it, but we should never have invaded Iraq. At least Stark is strongly standing up for the truth and not resorting to GOP scare tatics; like "Vote for me or the terrorist will win", or the "I'm more patriotic then you" BS. All the time while playing spin the wheel with the colors on the 'rainbow of doom'. Ask youself if Iraq was/is a nessecary battle? Why aren't we deploying troops to Darfur or Myanmar for truly heroic reasons? Answer: Those areas aren't sitting on millions of gallons of oil. For all you Bush lovin wackos, get a spine and you believe every life is precious, then you will vote to bring our troops home now and stop squandering them in Iraq.

    October 19, 2007 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. Joe Columbus, OH

    It's time to make Stark our House speaker and make that spineless coward Pelosi step down in discrace. The truth hurts repugs. Deal with it!

    October 19, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  11. Steve, Miami FL

    The real amusement sits with Bin Laden who is safely on the side lines reading blogs like these where Americans fight each other over Iraq instead of looking for him. Does anyone remember him??

    October 19, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. Joe

    I swear that moveon.org and media matters has on payroll a bunch of college kids that go to these sites and pretend they are different people pushing the far left agenda. I know they did this during the last presidential debates where they flooded online surveys on who won the debate. I just cant believe there are this many idiots who would support the hate speech of this guy Starks.

    October 19, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  13. Matthew Law, Atlanta GA

    AWESOME! It's about time someone stood up to Bush and his evil empire!

    October 19, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. Trish Miller

    Stark is a member of Congress with free speech however, such a cheap shot from an "elder" is pathetic. I cannot imagine any politician, republican or democrat, participating in this kind of bating. This is the very reason politicians are no longer referred to as statesman!

    October 19, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. Lea Reis Cincinnati, Ohio

    I think he is absolutely right.

    October 19, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Adam, Pittsburgh

    So...what's the controversy? Republicans are upset that a Democrat verbalized what the MAJORITY of Americans have been thinking for a while now? Tough.

    (Check the polls. Bush misled. War a mistake. Shouldn't have been waged. Pull out within a year. All of these statements have majority support.)

    October 19, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. Archie

    Any Dem Presidential candidate that doesn't repudiate his comments will be beaten to death with them in the general election. Thanks Rep. Stark for the awesome ammo that we will shoot down your party's candidate with. By the comments on this blog its obvious that liberal Dims dont understabd politics or just how stupid they are.

    October 19, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. NS, New York

    Rep. Stark was wrong to characterize it as soldiers dying for Bush's amusement- but they are dying because of his stupidity, arrogance, stubbornness and dishonesty. So are we supposed to upset that his poor feelings might be hurt??? Oh, boo hoo. The most disgusting comment I've heard is that you can't support the troops if you don't support their commander-in-chief. That is a treasonous and despicable lie. Supporting their CiC means supporting sending in far fewer troops than the professional military men like Gen Shinseki knew would be needed; supporting having no plans in place for a realistic occupation to nip the insurgency in the bud; supporting the failure to secure Iraqi ammo dumps; supporting the failure to supply sufficient body armour, armoured vehicles, and medical supplies; supporting dumping wounded service members in mold-infested quarters; and on and on. That sure doesn't sound supporting our troops to me- it sounds more like betraying them. Instead of worrying about whether Rep. Stark apologizes we ought to be demanding that all republican legislators apologize to our troops for failing in their constitutional duty to oversee the actions of the executive, and for protecting their political golden boy at the expense of protecting our service people.

    October 19, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Jack, Albuquerque NM

    No one should ever be asked or expected to apologize for speaking truth to power. Especially power abused so recklessly.

    "Give em hell" Pete. And keep it up.

    October 19, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  20. A. Tavarez Presidio, TX

    Keep blasting away Congressman Stark. As a son of veteran, and as a veteran, and the father of an Iraq War veteran, I appauld you for what you said. It was about time somebody in the Democratic Party grew a pair!

    October 19, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  21. roger, conway sc

    Right on...don't back down...you are exactly right...give the right wing conservative, hypocrites HELL

    October 19, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. Dave, Portland Oregon

    "Rep. Stark is a member of Congress, and he can say what he believes. There is a double standard that the right can attack what it likes, and take all manner of extreme positions on health care, education and foreign policy, but the left is for some reason expected to stay moderate and restrained.

    Posted By Nathan, Columbia MD : October 18, 2007 6:08 pm "

    While I may agree with part of what was said, you are wrong in your statement. As a member of Congress, he must abide by Congressional rules which forbid personal attacks, and this clearly was. He should be officially reprimanded for his outburst.

    October 19, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  23. C, Sacramento, CA

    Now come on folks, don't be mad at Pete. He is just saying what most of you are feeling anyway....Congress, are you listening???

    October 19, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  24. dlb, LA, CA

    Repubs get "outraged" over a comment by Democrat and support the rape of this country, the encroachments on the Constitution, the plunder of the treasury and the deaths of unknown thousands for oil. Just shows their priorities.

    October 19, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. PhilB, Dover, NJ

    Rep. Stark is a traitor to our country.

    Our forces do not target civilians, the President does not order troops into harm's way for his "amusement", and the veto of the SCHIP legislation puts children on the taxpayer dole who are already receiving health insurance. It does not "deprive" children of health insurance.

    The Demagogic party has mislead the american people for decades in order to score political points. Attacking our country and our forces in harm's way in order to win elections reeks of hypocricy and all that is bad in politics.

    Those who are more interested in winning elections by attacking our country are by definition traitors to us all.

    October 19, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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