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. Paul E. Pritchett, Nixa, Missouri

    BRAVO! for Representative Stark. Sometimes the truth hurts but it needs to be said nonetheless. He is exactly right. As one who served more than 20 years in the military myself, it has become dreadfully apparent that the Bush administration has neither respect for the lives of the Iraqi people or the American servicement and women who are fighting his war for him.

    It is time that Speaker Pelosi be recalled and a competent new Speaker be elected by the House democrats and get the impeachment proceedings underway in an effort to save our constitution and country.

    October 18, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  2. Len, belleville mi.

    stark should be ashamed for what he said, these soldiers are enlisted men.
    They are fighting for our country and
    this moron should be strung up. If I
    was president I would have him shipped to iran. He is a digrace to this country.

    October 18, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  3. John D. NY, NY

    Rep. Stark is right on the money. Our military is deserving of all the respect in the world... however, this "president" deserves ZERO respect.

    October 18, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  4. Lyndon, Murphysboro, Illinois

    How irresponsible! I'm not going to roast this misguided twit since his words demonstrate his inability to act as a responsible member of Congress.
    Sir, clean up your act or clean out your desk in 2008.

    October 18, 2007 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  5. Helen, Washington, DC

    Rep. Stark finally said something that no other politician has been willing to say publicly. I have brothers and sisters in the military, and i can't believe they have to risk their lives for this war, which we shouldn't have started in the first, all because of President Bush. He should have been impeached a LONG TIME AGO!

    October 18, 2007 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  6. John, San Leandro CA

    I am ashamed to say he is my congressman.

    October 18, 2007 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  7. Tim, Washington DC

    Good for him. Congress (both sides) are so afraid to say anything controversial or contentious. It makes me sick and I think it is related to how little gets done there. Sometimes a drastic situation warrants speaking in drastic terms.

    Members of the Congress should start thinking in terms of what they want to say, and not what their PR person wants them to.

    October 18, 2007 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  8. Rhonda, San Francisco, CA

    Sums it up in a nutshell. Pete Stark has articulated my exact feeling about President Bush, the war in Iraq and the children's health issue. It sickens me that such evil has taken over our once-great nation. There is no America, and there will not be an America as long as dirtbags like him are in power.

    October 18, 2007 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  9. Carlos-Los Angeles, California

    The facts speak for themselves on this issue. Pictures of Mr. Bush cavorting like a comedian without a worry in the world have been common through the duration of this war. This is not a man who suffers the pain of a nation at war. This an amoral leader of an amoral political party who has shown little if no concern for the men he has sent to die in his fabricated war.
    This is a leader who cares more about his legacy than the troops that are dying in his name.

    October 18, 2007 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  10. Chris, Middletown, CT

    They have certain "rules" when you are speaking....one is stay on point (a failure of all liberals) – and the other is to not attack the other members or the president – its like when Bill Clinton lied under oath....yeah....nothing happened to him either....can you remind me why we have rules again??

    October 18, 2007 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  11. Kim, Midland, MI

    The truth hurts.

    Maybe if the President and his senior staff watched the film Lawrence of Arabia, they would finally realize that this country has no business whatsoever in Iraq or anywhere else in the Middle East.

    I could vomit when I think about the real priorities in the world today. Starting with trafficing of humans and child sexual slavery. Could anything possible be more evil? Satan wins as this Republican administration pretends that the United States could have any, long term, positive impact on the region.

    The most recent rational – to bring freedom to the Middle East is completely ridiculous. What the heck is Lebanon or Israel? We should be spending our nation's capital to make these democracies strong, and not try to force democracy on Iraq.

    I call on Christians to wake the hell up and see that you are blindly following evil people who worship money and power. Muslims are not evil, but they need time to work out their own differences. I mean, don't forget how long Christians have been slaughtering each other over trivial differences. Our only hope is to decrease the time of madness for others.

    Nothing good comes from violence. Wars only mean that everyone failed to act when the time was right – WWII, Nazi Germany. They didn't just sneak up on the sceen – millions had to turn a blind eye to the madness and hate. Just like now, we turn a blind eye to child sexual slavery in the far East. I would be genuinely happy to see the current administration grow a set and pick a cause to support that might actually get the lot of them in to heaven, if that's really where they want to be.

    Sometimes I wonder.

    October 18, 2007 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  12. Jim Whittaker Thompsons Station, TN


    1. Where is you head (and heart)?

    2. Remarks like this, along with your party trying to change history (almost one hundred years ago in Turkey) are doing a great disservice to this country and our military.

    3. I was proud to wear the uniform for thirty eight years so Americans could remain free, and unfortunately allow morons like you open their mouths.

    4. I feel sorry for the district that elected/reelected you.If you currently "represented" my district in Tennessee,I would be doing everything in my power to ensure that you WOULD NOT be reelected next time!

    October 18, 2007 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  13. Kata Portland, Oregon

    What is truth? Have we so forgotten?
    The truth is the President is playing God for his amusement and that's the final analysis. Pelosi has done little to nothing to stop this man, so if Stark speaks the truth, then so be it.

    October 18, 2007 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  14. Michael -- Gallatin, TN

    Well, I have to admit, having our troops in Iraq for the Bush crowd's country club cocktail party conversational amusement is as good an explanation for them being there as any I've heard.

    October 18, 2007 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  15. Jon Paugh, Louisville, KY

    This is exactly why there is such tensions between the political parties. No one is allowed to have a free thought whatsoever. Unless ofcourse your religious. Why should other democrats have to go out and condemn a statement made by an individual. This was not a statement issued by the democratic party. It is an opionion expressed by one person. It is also really sad that Americans cannot criticize policies put in place by our highest officials without it being turned into a you dont care about America (troops, etc.). IMO you can criticize and hate the war and think whatever you want about it. That doesnt mean you are saying anything about their hard work and sacrifice. THEY dont make the decisions. They just follow their orders.

    October 18, 2007 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  16. John, Minneapolis Minnesota

    I wonder if Harry Reid/Hillary and the bunch will send a letter to California asking them not to re-elect Stark?

    October 18, 2007 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  17. Mark, Salt Lake City

    He is 100% correct.

    October 18, 2007 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  18. Louis Dupree Ft lauderdale, Florida

    I totally agree with Rep Stark. The president is in need of a reality check. He vetos money for childrens health while asking for a lot more to fund his war. We need to know every rep that voted against the child health care bill and boot them out of office next November,

    October 18, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  19. patriot76, Syracuse,NY

    Gee, I wonder why the Republicans aren't upset by the useless deaths of our soldiers but go into high dudgeon over an honest comment by Pete Stark.

    October 18, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  20. Joseph C. McKinney, Fairfax, VA

    It's amazing how the Troops are nothing but political Props for the Republicans...Support the Troops, Criticizing the War is attacking the Troops, et cetera, but Yet, we can't have an honest discussion about our failed War policy. It's pathetic. Representative Stark is only expressing the frustration shared by many if not most of America. It's stunningly more insulting to Every American for Politicians to support a failed pre-emptive war policy that has made us less safe, has resulted in the deaths of Thousand of American troops, and Many More Iraqis, has indebted us for Generations to come, for purely political calculations. Republicans are dispicable. Impeach Bush. Bring the Troops home. Support a Multilateral Foreign Policy that truly resorts to force as a last option. Support the Restoral of Due Process to the American Justice System.

    October 18, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  21. Gary, Evansville, IN

    God Bless Rep. Pete Stark for standing up and saying what most Americans feel. I really don't know how George and Laura Bush sleep at night. With Laura being a mother, it's absolutely amazing that she accepts Americans losing their life because of her husbands arrogance.

    October 18, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  22. Moe, NY

    Stark is, in my opinion, 100% right on both counts. The RNC Chairman is ever so wrong...the TRUTH is never an insult. Matter of fact it is about time American citizens are being told the truth. Glad Stark had the gumption to speak out. For what it is worth, I too, have no respect for our Commander-in-Chief nor the chickenhawks in Congress who are pandering to our President's madness.

    October 18, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  23. Frank Virginia Beach VA

    Long ago, when decency belonged to Americans, this man would have been run out of town on a pole. Today, when decency is a dirty work in America, this man is applauded for his slanderous abuse.

    October 18, 2007 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  24. Christian, Tampa FL

    While Mr. Stark did get a bit too heated and should NOT have said what he did, no one can blame him for being angry.

    When the Republicans INSIST that we stay in Iraq despite the opposition of roughly 3/4 of the American people, and when the Republicans INSIST that we not have children's healthcare despite overwhelming support in Congress and among the public, you can start to understand why people get a little bit heated.

    The GOP needs to go down in '08. They deserve serious punishment from the electorate that they continue to disrespect.

    October 18, 2007 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  25. Trevor, Austin, tx

    I think this debate has reached a new low. Regardless of your feelings about the war or the President, the suggestion that the President is amused by the deaths is an insult both the American government and the U.S military. Having completed two tours as a Army helicopter pilot, there is nothing amusing about war, nor do I believe any American leader feels that way.

    October 18, 2007 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
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