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. Riggs, Lyons NY

    Hmm far right attacking a 12 year old. I have yet to see any proof of that. The right attacked the Libs for saying this kid would not have gotten treatment under SCHIP when there was never any intention to reduce SCHIP. The bill was set to expand the health care to children in households that can afford the health care.

    There was a comment about elected officials having socialized healthcare... Hmm no. That is part of a benefit of a job. Some companies provide it at a discounted rate, some free. We as Americans pay for our elected officials to have it as compensation for the work they do. I wish we could take it away from some who like to push these spending increases down our throats or say the most disgusting things about our troops.

    Its one thing to bash a policy, or bash an elected official. Do not bash our troops. These young men and women have volunteered to do what 95% of the people reading this do not have the "stones" to do.

    October 19, 2007 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. Jess, Madisonville, KY

    Stark had the cajones to speak THE TRUTH.

    Just the other day Bush was joking about WWIII. Yea,, did you hear that? HE WAS JOKING ABOUT WWIII.

    WAKE UP!

    October 19, 2007 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. Riaz, Jersey City, NJ

    We have a very short term memory... Issue with IRAQ was WMD nothing else!!! D-Reps of Congress instead of finding the MONEY to support the Children Health Care is now playing the BLAME/DAMAGE control Game!!!

    October 19, 2007 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  4. Jerry, Chicago IL

    I'm amazed at all of the Republicans that will stand up for Bush and his administration, no matter what they do. Why are so many people loyal to being a "Republican" or a "Democrat".

    I've never taken either side, but I'm 100% sure that I won't be voting for any Republicans for a very long time.

    Why is it that Clinton is investigated exhaustively for a personal matter that doesn't have any affect on running the country, and Bush can twist the constitution, take us to war under fall pretenses, etc.. and their is no big investigation into what he has done.

    It's good to see that Rep. Stark has the courage to speak against the masses and say what he really feels. We definately need more politicians to speak their mind, and not bow to the lobbyists, corporate America, etc.

    October 19, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  5. TeagleT, Rochester, MN

    What a jerk, you never talk about your president in those terms sending men to war for the pleaseure of it. You JERK!!!
    My son returns for Iraq today, he will be going back as he is told. How do some of these guys get elected. Oh BTW, CNN is for the Left.. they are purely biased...

    October 19, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. Riggs, Lyons NY

    Geez M from NY NY,

    Did you even listen to the audio from this. It is quite clear he was not talking about the troops being blown up. His comment about "innocent people" was referring to the Iraqi's.

    Anyone for a big glass of Liberade with a Twist of Facts?

    October 19, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. Abq, NM


    Seriously, it's about time a Democrat stood up in public and blasted Bush and the neocons for their folly - that's right, folly– regarding this war. It was a lie from the start, depleted our military resources, risked the lives and jobs of thousands of young soldiers and citizen-soldiers, diminished our respect in the eyes of the world, caused most of the free world to treat US as reactionaries and, worst of all, killed nearly 4000 soldiers and countless civilians for the flimsiest of reasons.

    It's too bad Pete Stark did not run for President.

    October 19, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. Neill C., Montgomery, Al

    This guy's a scumbag. Yeah, support the troops by saying they're blowing up innocents.

    You should be ashamed of yourself.

    October 19, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. Danny Casolaro Martinsburg, WV

    I am so sick of these pinko liberals who think that the Constitution of the United States was written to protect the rights of free speech. Nowhere in the Bill of Rights does it say anything about the rights to free speech, free assembly, or freedom of the press. And if it does, then the Constitution must be destroyed.
    Anyone who disagrees must be immediately sent to jail.
    This nation must continue to destroy all enemies, foreign and domestic, in order to be the last and best nation on earth.
    We need more death, more war, more Big Gulps, more WalMarts, more lynchings, more beef jerky, more hate-more, more, more!
    America rules!
    Death to freedom!

    October 19, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. Christopher Furst, Ithaca, NY

    Good for Stark! He has the guts to state the obvious about the president. Bush fiddles while Iraq and America burn - why would the little rancher act any differently toward children?

    October 19, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. sam

    What else can one say about a man who is willing to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on an unneccessary war and at the same time deny our children the 35 billions they need to protect them from harm. A criminally insane and cruel man who lost his moral compas long time ago. How about the most morally bankrupt man ever elected to lead our country since its begining.

    October 19, 2007 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. Riggs, Lyons NY


    So you really think this war was done for amusement?

    I am glad that most of our Troops do not beleive that. Seems to be they are the only group really focused on something important.

    October 19, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  13. Dale, Oak Park MI

    As far as shoving spending down people's throats, the war is by far the greatest hemorrhage and injustice to our Tax Dollars at Work™.

    Republicans are never allowed to complain about 'money wasting liberals' ever again. Their logic for doing so is fatally flawed.

    I'm growing very tired of insults to my intelligence.

    October 19, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  14. S, Orlando, FL

    Stark is right. Bush is the worst enemy the troops have ever had. And nothing any of you idiots on this website calling him names say will change that.

    Bush has disgraced and embarrassed the office of the presidency to an extent it has never seen before. He needs to resign long before Stark does.

    October 19, 2007 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |


    October 19, 2007 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  16. Dorothy Alameda, CA

    Pete Stark is absolutely right! The short sighted stupidity of the veto on SCHIP should be derided. If Stark apologizes (and he is my representative) I will be angry and disappointed. Say what you believe and be willing to stand up for what you say.!!

    October 19, 2007 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. Sue Johnson

    I am glad that someone in Washington has the nerve to speak the truth. This man has said nothing that he needs to apologize for as far as this statement for the Schip bill is concerned. I sure hope that he does not bow to pressure and retrack this statement. I truly believe this war is being fought for the amusement of President Bush and his oil rich cronies. God Bless this man and his family for having the guts to speak of what is happening to lower income Americans of this country because we don't have the same choices like thoses of the rich.

    October 19, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. Jonathan E. R. Glendora CA

    Congressman Stark's comments at the core were acceptible, but the way he used them were not. He's a congressman, someone who the people voted in because they believed that he would rule by reason and not out of passionate fluries...at least that is how it was intended by the Framer's over 200 yrs ago. From reading the news articles on the child health plan, seeing that the veto did not work the Democratically controlled congress needs to get together and make a compromise, the whole point of having the government setup was basically for it to be inefficient and make it necessary to talk to the other side and compromise....Sometimes I feel in general that congress doesnt care for america...whether Dem or Repub...and maybe that is our fault?

    October 19, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  19. Zeus Racine, WI

    As a TRUE INDEPENDENT, I had the special opportunity to speak with God and His Son, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, last night: They both agree with Mr. Stark and support him completely…There really is nothing more to say to you intellectual cretins and morally bankrupt people who would attack a very honorable man.

    I too have to support Mr. Stark!

    October 19, 2007 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Daniel SLC UT

    It's about time the Dems start attacking the War hungry perverts, also know as Republicans.

    October 19, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. Jack, Omaha, NE

    I agree with Stark's comments in part. If Bush and the Republicans actually cared about the troops as much as they rather sanctimoniously proclaim to then they'd be spending the money they don't want to spend for S CHIP for proper equipment and body armor for our soldiers. Instead, the money will go to fund no-bid contracts for Halliburton, Blackwater, and the Carlyle Group, or will be poured into the corrupt and ineffectual government of Iraq.

    October 19, 2007 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  22. Stephen, San Diego, CA

    The polls on Peter Stark were such a surprise to CNN they pulled it. 4800 reponses and 71% saying that Rep Stark should NOT have to apologize. Or maybe he should apologize when republicans apolodize to Graeme Frost who they labeled as a social welfare child because SCHIP helped him rehabilitate from a life threatening accident. Shame on you!

    October 19, 2007 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. John T., Orange County, CA

    Rep. Stark speaks atleast majority of the minds of americans who still think its Bush's personal war. May be his words are little harsh for the soldiers families, but one can't take his word by word. Its the frustration that is being expressed. The fact of the matter is when we are spending trillion for illegal war and deny 35B for childrens health, where are those hypocrite obstructionists who favor Bush's failed policies?

    October 19, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. Riggs, Lyons NY

    RAINE: I def. would not dispute the fact that they should not be able to pass thier own increases. The fact is, we would still provide a healthcare benefit to them as part of a benefit for thier service.

    Dorothy: I do not think anyone wants him to apologize for a comment about SCHIP getting the big V. Quite frankly, those types of discussions need to happen. There should be an apology for the comment about amusement over death. Looking at some of the comments Rep. Stark has made in the past, there is no question of malicious intent.

    Lets look at a couple:

    8/1990 – Rep. Stark said that the Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Wade Sullivan was "a discrace to his race" because of Sullivan's opposition to National Health Care.

    1999: Called the California State Welfare Director Eloise Anderson a "baby-killer" and said she would "kill children if she had it her way" becuase she opposed his policy proposals.

    Thats just to name a few...

    2001: In a debate he brought up Rep. J.C. Watts children. He went so far as to try to condemn them for being "born out of wedlock". (Quite odd for a man who is a self professed Unitarian. Why would he care?)

    October 19, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  25. Luke, Charleston, SC

    Why doesn't Bush just say MISSION ACCOMPLISHED and let's get the heck outta there.

    Oh yeah, he already did. Someone just forgot to tell the Congressman.

    October 19, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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