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. Jeff from Iowa

    To all the people who wrote in to voice their support of Pete Stark and to speak out against the tyranny, fascism, lies, torture, death, civil rights abuses, profit over life, and on and on: Thank you. You've given me a glimmer of hope that this country might just survive. And all those who died for our freedom, from the American Revolution to the present, will not have died in vain. God bless you all!!!

    October 19, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. Monica, Omaha NE

    I agree with Senator Stark. 3830 US troops have been killed in Iraq since May of 2003.

    That is a shame. Think of all those parents, siblings, wives, children that are affected by that number.

    The death gratuity for combat is $100,000. That is $38,830,000 that the government pays, not to mention social security benefits for children and spouses.

    Bush does not want help the kids when they are young and but wants to help get them killed and bankrupt the government when they are older.

    When this war started some of these servicemen and women where only 13. Eighteen year olds are dying.
    Check the site with stats.
    http://icasualties.org/oif/

    October 19, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. Patsy. Atkinson, NE

    Hooray for Stark. Finally someone with guts to stand up and be counted. Need more like him to tell it like it is. Although Stark did call him the president he is not my president. Goerge is a tuff bugger when he has all the big guns behind him. But he really is a weenie. Can't wait til he is just a bad memory.

    October 19, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  4. Michael Rowe, Sacramento CA

    Good Job Satark! Bush should be impeached. Children need healthcare!

    October 19, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. Susan, Westminster CO

    Finally, someone that speaks what sadly seems to have become the truth. The Bush administration makes me sad and embarrassed to be an American. I'm very happy that Stark said this and hope he keeps it up! I hope more of the people/politicians- we elected will stand up as well. WE,because the Bush Administration sadly represents all of us, have all been hurt by the many bad decisions and actions that have been taken. I'm sure during Nazi Germany's reign, that many just went along, not realizing or caring what was happening. It's long past due for action let alone WORDS. But, it's a start that I'll gladly take!

    October 19, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. dvebeall

    Bush and Co have committed numerous crimes. What can be worse that an illegal, incompetent, disingenuouus War?

    May be he is sadist. It is a real possibility.

    But since the President of the USA should be in jail and has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents – it is about time Democrats became more colorful, and showed backbone.

    The reason why the Congress is detested is because we do not want the Democrats to appease and enable these bastards – rather we want them punished for their crimes. When will Pelosi get that!

    We want our Democacy, decency, intelligence and our freedoms back and we want to apologise to the rest of humanity for the oblivious cruelties we force upon humanity.

    With War and more War and with oil at $90 and 'Jesus' dictating various forms of prejudice and intolerance – Bush and Co are living their wet dream.

    Let become the good guys again.

    October 19, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. Dale, Layton, Utah

    Darko, If you spent half a minute to understand the issue you would realize that the Democrats compromised the bill down to the spending limit that was passed. Republicans and Democrats agreed to the compromise and passed the Bill's spending level. You ought to read and understand before typing.

    October 19, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. Ron, Denver, Colorado

    Stark, Pelosi and Reid will be voted out of office in this next election. People such as these and their other henchmen who signed the letter besmirching Rush, are in-bed with all of the democrats. They will get wha they deserve. OUSTED! They all have committed outright treasonous acts, and many of their statements that were delivered on the floor of the house or senate, if delivered anywhere else, those Senators and Congressmen would have been arrested. These lousy examples of legislators deserve to be throuwn out, and they will. All they have done is played politics, not serving those people who elected them, The people. The people deserve better than empty retoric! The Democrats led by these idiots have not accomplished anything of any substance that they campaigned for. They will be buried in this next election, and they then will wonder why!

    October 19, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  9. Randy Hurst San Francisco, California 94121

    Go, Pete !! I think you meant "confusement". How can they be above the law when they are beneath contempt. Could we deploy Congress for a year in the Green Zone?

    October 19, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  10. patryot, Manassas, VA

    Thumbs up for Congressman Stark. He spoke the truth. The reason we voted for the Democrats in 2006 was to telegraph that very message to Bush and his surrogates. It was refreshing to hear someone with the guts to actually articulate it. Especially in that arena.

    October 19, 2007 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. Proud Democrat, Midwest U.S.

    Stark, Pelosi and Reid will be voted out of office in this next election. People such as these and their other henchmen who signed the letter besmirching Rush, are in-bed with all of the democrats. They will get wha they deserve. OUSTED! They all have committed outright treasonous acts, and many of their statements that were delivered on the floor of the house or senate, if delivered anywhere else, those Senators and Congressmen would have been arrested. These lousy examples of legislators deserve to be throuwn out, and they will. All they have done is played politics, not serving those people who elected them, The people. The people deserve better than empty retoric! The Democrats led by these idiots have not accomplished anything of any substance that they campaigned for. They will be buried in this next election, and they then will wonder why!

    Posted By Ron, Denver, Colorado : October 19, 2007 5:38 pm

    Dream on Ron...what color is the sky in your little world?

    Question all you idiotic demoRATS that keep claiming bush never served so he isnt fit to be commander and chief. DID HILLARY EVER SERVE? SO IS SHE FIT TO BE COMMANDER AND CHEIF?…Your hypocrisy oozes out of your worthless beings.

    Posted By John San Diego : October 19, 2007 4:43 pm

    Speaking of worthless John, when did you go off the meds?

    October 19, 2007 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  12. patryot, Manassas, VA

    Some of the writers need to watch C-SPAN more often. Check it out and you'll find that Stark isn't the only legislator who speaks freely. It can be very entertaining and informative. Stark's performance (I approve) is not an anomaly.

    October 19, 2007 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  13. CB Seattle WA

    Didn't "President" Bush JOKE around his office looking under the curtains and his desk for those "darn weapons of mass destruction?"

    Yes, he did. Where was the outrage then?

    October 19, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  14. Gregg, Los Angeles, CA

    Way to go Senator Stark!!! It's about time a Democrat or ANYBODY for that matter, stood up and told the bold, stark faced truth to power. It's the single most American thing I've seen in the last 6 years. Now the GOP Bully Boys, like the true Bullies they are, go sniveling and whining after someone stood up and gave them a well deserved, and long overdue, punch in the mouth. Senator Stark . . . don't you dare apologize! But, could you please pass around that bottle of courage around to Pelosi,Reid,Hoyer and company?

    October 19, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  15. Ed, San Pedro CA

    Who really hurts the troops? Improper body armour. Humvees without proper protection. If we're going to worry about what words really hurt the troops. We migh want to think about statements like "this is a Crusade" "mission accomplished" and "bring it on" "we have no evidence that Sadaam Hussein had anything to do with September 11th." Yet a guy who is sincerely concerned about the death of American and inncocent Iraqi citizens is condemned. The facist propaganda never ends.

    October 19, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  16. Lance

    God Bless you Congressman Stark. You keep sticking it to those greedy, pig headed, career bank robbers that would rather do anything but be honest with both themselves and the American peoplee.

    Your candor and honesty is refreshing and as one of your constituents in California I will fight to allow you to keep speaking the truth.

    October 19, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  17. Gary, Dallas, OR

    Matt in Reading PA :
    True, killing Bin Laden NOW would probably not make much difference. Because of Bush's insistence that we
    stay and fight the so called "insurgents" who are, in large
    part, actually Iraqis who now have no jobs, no electricity, no food, no infrastructure, or are otherwise
    displaced by the war, we have created a situation where we are doing more harm than good in a country whose people wish we would leave.
    Had we not abandoned the search for Bin Laden at the time, things would be
    different now.

    To those who think Stark's comments are
    crude or insulting, what do you think
    combat is like ? It an't pretty or gentlemanly folks.

    October 19, 2007 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  18. Smart N Up NY

    As for children's health care, that is the responsibility of the parents. Not all can not afford it; some just choose not to and spend their money on non-essentials. Our family of 5 lived at or below poverty level for the past 35 yrs. presently earning just over $40,000 annualy. So do you really think it's fair to spend OUR tax money for the health care of children whose parents earn more than we do? Where's the justice in that? I say hold the parents responsible.

    October 19, 2007 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  19. Cafferty Fan, Destrehan, LA 70047

    Rep. Stark speaks for me. His statement is long overdue.

    October 19, 2007 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  20. Cory, San Diego, CA

    As a two-time veteran of the Iraq War (OIF I and III) I am beyond disgusted with the recent comments of Rep. Stark (D)! Why is the media not covering this story? He first suggested that the Commmander-in-Chief of our armed forces enjoys seeing soldiers die. Are you kidding me? Then he suggests that soldiers are illegally killing innocent people. This is a direct slander against our troops. There is NO other way to interpret this. There is no spinning out of this one. His coments are very likely the most despicable that have EVER been uttered on the floor of Congresss in our nation's history. I am personally offended! I don't even want an appology. I want him to resign immediately!

    October 19, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  21. James, Seattle, WA

    Before the Iraq war, the world was a relatively peaceful place. Prior to the invasion, people protested in American and around the world. During the invasion problems that arose were called "mistakes" or "mishandlings". Soon America lost its standing in the eyes of the world. Finally, even World Religious leaders are asking us to find a peaceful resolution to the war in Iraq.

    Since 2001, George W. Bush has declared a war on terror, and he has put the axis of evil on call; religious conservatives were the force behind both of his terms in office. They are only 23% of the population, but their voter turn out rate of 78% is extremely high. They say they will only back a pro-life candidate. They are currently looking at Mitt Romney. He may be pro-life, but he is also pro-war.

    The human race faces some monumentally difficult times ahead if we cannot pull it together and somehow resolve our differences. Global warming and overpopulation present a particularly difficult challenge because they require not only our full attention, but also world wide cooperation; yet global tensions now stand in the way.

    The dollar is down. Our troops are stretched thin. Yet oil prices and military spending continue to grow. The housing market is in a slump and consumer confidence is low. Clearly our economy is slowing down. Now is not the time to be involved in a conflict which will rise tensions in the world. Less than half of all Americans approve of this war, yet we are not only still standing our ground, but we seem to be gearing up for even more conflict.

    There are more tensions in the world today. Russia has recently signed a treaty with Iran. Pakistan, where Osama Bin Laden is reported to be, is more volitile today than before. I'm sorry, but we are in over our heads. Continuing to fight this war in Iraq, is clearly foolish, and it threatens world stability.

    The moment I found out that the proof of WMD had been questioned my opinion changed. Because of this, if I were asked to fight, I would not fight. Nor would I ask others to fight for me. Since then I have been against the Iraq war. Pete Stark is a man who has had enough and so have I. It is urgent that we resolve the conflict in Iraq now!

    October 19, 2007 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  22. dukes james griffin georgia

    there is nothing wrong in telling the truth. ask yourselves this how are our kids dying. so they say road side bombs bombs planted in the road way itself on poles near the streets so you think OK. so why after all of these months years and so many dead are your kids still driving on those roads? do you get it? they are being killed in a manner that has to do with driving on iraq road-ways so why are they still being ordered to drive on those road-ways when they could fly over them. so your president in order to show some-one how tough he is continue to send your kids up and down the same roadways to be blown up so that he can say–look what they did-now we owe it to the troops to stay in iraq and not cut and run. joe biden is another of these jerk crap talkers he is so tough he sits down on meet the press and talks about what we owe the troops every military person from e-1 to sfc knows that he is nothing to the military and that if he falls dead there is someone who will do his job before he can think I am dead. this I say to that bullcrapper biden wanna help the troops then pay them a proper share. pay them what you pay blackwater and others like them also for a leg one million cash for two legs two million cash for a head or brain injury 2.5 million cash plus the rest va care for life ect. keep the flag a vet. can buy his own flag and give it to his own wife or the wife of his fallen brother. of coure bush want kids to die in irag how else can he keep you all hating those people while he and his friends steal oil monies you see there is no iraq government it is a bush puppet government when bush leave next year so will a lot of his phony leaders of iraq thus another out-break in violence will happen and the new president will re-start another iraq war. it will go on because God did not give the jew a oil field that is the truth as all of you know it. I say this what if you knew that bush cheney rice powell and so very many others knew and could have stop-ed 9-11-01 from even happening, what would you do who would you call where or who could you go to? what would you do? how would you do it? who would you tell? congress, the courts, who? and what if they knew that you know and maybe feeling what if some-one starts to listen to what this guy is saying then what- would you run? run where what if you had no money then what? this is hard stuff these are hard times he knew you know. they knew they allowed it to happen I thought that it would have come to a end but no it is to be the way of life for many years to come. so leave the man alone he spoke a truth.

    October 19, 2007 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  23. GSingleton

    Thank you Rep. Stark!
    Truer words were never spoken.
    Pelosi should follow your leadership, instead of Cheney's.

    October 20, 2007 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  24. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    It seems like Stark's buddies from Daily Kos are all on this blog extending their support. Stark's comments are still disgraceful and pitiful.

    October 20, 2007 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  25. Joe Bryan Baker, Austin, Texas.

    Hurrah for Pete Stark!
    But why- with Bush's currently dismal lack of popularity and support are
    we not simply booting him out of the
    White House? The world has witnessed
    tyranny for five years. The USA has
    lost it's credibility worldwide. It
    cannot lecture people on fair election, it cannot lecture people on human rights, or right to privacy, or judicial process. American scial critics such as myself- get held and questioned for 2 hours by the FBI and NSA when re-entering the country- while men with mustaches and baseball hats from Tihuana to Tripoli march on through! Americans have been sleep
    walking. Now, at least they are starting to rouse- but they must
    wake up and see the light outside the
    window. Stop believing the pork-
    barreled lords of war who only want
    to mezmerize you into believing that people across the sea have nothing
    better to do than attack America.
    America should stop being the unappointed (and unwanted) pseudo-
    expert-world-watchdog and help others.
    Stop letting WMD lies, fake enemies,
    and windshild cowboys direct their
    thoughts and tax dollars!

    October 20, 2007 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
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