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. Keith Flower, Sacramento, California

    Finally...a Democrat who stands up and just speaks the truth.

    Good for you, Mr. Stark. I support you wholeheartedly.

    October 18, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  2. Keith, Greenville, SC

    If Pelosi, Reid, or any other democrat apologizes for Stark's statement, it will only be one more example of their spinelessness. The statement is accurate and should stand.

    October 18, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  3. LaMonte, Texas

    Quit putting a spin on this crap by saying he is only coming under fire from Republicans. He is coming under fire from AMERICAN'S!!!!! Nobody I have spoken to on this topic support his choice of words no matter how they feel about the war. I do not believe the president finds any death funny and to make such a statement is retarded. This guy is taking California to a whole new low.

    October 18, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  4. Aaron, Champaign IL

    I can't imagine better propoganda material for our enemies. I wonder if Stark will be "amused" when this is shown to one of our captured soldiers.

    October 18, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  5. Barbara K, Wilmington DE

    Ditto to: “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." ,
    And ditto to: "I have nothing but respect for our brave men and women in uniform and wish them the very best.”
    I have felt for a long time that our Commander in Chief uses our brave men and women as a disposable resource, and his arrogance has cost us dearly, both at home and globally.
    Bravo to Stark for saying so, and shame on Mike Duncan for mouthing the rhetoric.

    October 18, 2007 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  6. Zach, Fort Myers, FL

    I wouldn't say his coments suggested "suggested" that they were dying for his amusement. More "blatantly stated" it.

    Of course, if it is just for his amusement, it would explain the lack of any stated goal (or, rather, a stated goal that stays the same from one week to the next).

    October 18, 2007 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  7. antonia Gonzalez Seattle Washington

    Way to go Mr. Stark. It's time you bunch of wimpy democrats begin to stand up for what is right. I received a call from the democrats asking for money to help fight the republicans. My response was no because the democrats are a bunch of wimps and they keep either voting for the war or more money for the war. Thank you Mr. Stark for your brave work. You have my full 100% support.

    October 18, 2007 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  8. Steven Houston, TX

    The last time I checked, freedom of speech was still allowed in Congress. I've always been told that truth hurts....and who suffers here, someone's ego?

    October 18, 2007 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  9. bprossersme

    Hate, hate, hate. I felt hate for this pig of a man as he spewed his filth over our government today.

    October 18, 2007 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  10. DT newport Vermont

    This is an example of liberal partisan political games but at who's expense. This is the heart of what is wrong in Washington at this time. Someone from either party currently act like they are different countries, no common goals, no working together and its all about power and staying in the key positions so your party has "POWER". You may not agree with every decision made while the other party was in power but there should be working towards common goals . You just get nowhere with statements like Starks comment and part of the problem is that these people have no respect for the office of the president in general unless there is someone in the white house who is a member of their party. If these politicians would just let the military run this war things in Iraq would be much better off. Why did we leave Vietnam without a victory?? In this case however the situation so different. The stakes are so high and failure could mean the end of free society as we know it not just here but around the world.If the terrorist and terror states like IRAN win this battle then wait and see what goes on next in places like Israel, Pakistan,and Saudia Arabia. The disease will fester from this region into the rest of the middle east because these people want nothing more than to kill anyone who is not a believer in their brand of radical Islam. Comments like Mr. Starks do nothing to help the cause.

    October 18, 2007 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  11. Warren Thompson, Silver Spring, MD


    I'm moving to Cali just so I can vote for this guy!!

    It's about friggin time someone spoke their mind in congress!!

    October 18, 2007 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  12. Scott Everard Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Stark is a cretin. It's as simple as that.

    October 18, 2007 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  13. Josh Maloney, Oakland, CA

    I am a Democrat and feel this was a poor choice of words by the Congressman who's district is next to mine. It was uncalled for and could have been stated differently.

    October 18, 2007 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  14. Anon, Philadelphia, PA

    I support you, Pete. He is clear he values American soldiers but not the way that they are being employed in Iraq.

    October 18, 2007 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  15. Mike g,west paterson,nj

    If this loone had any brains he would resign immediately.Of course if he had any brains he would not be in Congress. This is what we can now expect from the lef twing loonie capital of the world, California. There have been some outrageous things said on both sides but this guy really needs to have his head examined.

    October 18, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  16. Dan, Mountain View CA

    My son died for freedom and for his country, not for President Bush's amusement. Only those of you who don't understand and who are not willing to sacrifice will keep blaming the President. For God's sake and this country's sake, please don't use the soldiers' death for political advantage. Honor them who have died for freedom. Enough is enough. May God continue to bless America.

    October 18, 2007 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  17. MCD, San Francisco, CA

    FINALLY, somebody has what it takes to speak the truth! Just hope the rest of the Dems stank with him and learn something from him!

    October 18, 2007 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  18. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    Granted Congressman Stark should not have used the word amusement. But how many Americans are going to die in Iraq because of the incompetence of Bush as commander-in-chief. Their dying because the republicans in congress are praying for a miracle that the surge will stave off defeat till they can blame others. Meanwhile our soldiers are comming home in body bags, wheel chairs,with missing limbs, sightless, mentally and emotionally disabled. Just so they,the republicans can save face.
    So the republicans are insulted by Starks use of the word amusement, but no one died.
    I'm sure the soldiers in Iraq would say, 'Insult me, but let me go home alive and in one piece." Amen

    October 18, 2007 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  19. MCD, San Francisco, Ca

    ... Sorry... typo.. should say "Stand with him....

    October 18, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  20. Dini, Larchmont NY

    I fully support Rep. Stark, we need Demcrats like him who say what they mean, and who stand up for the armed forces in Uniform.
    New York

    October 18, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  21. gary

    This country is coming apart at the seems. I am no fan of Bush, but any elected representative that would make such a stupid and ridiculous statement should be removed from office. To allege that Bush derives amusement from combat deaths in beyond civil discourse. This man is plainly a moron and has no place in congress and should be censured.

    October 18, 2007 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  22. Bryan, Los Angeles

    Finally a Democrat who uses harsh words against this administration. It's about time. The Democrats need to stop being weak in the knees and beat the Republicans at their own game: Tough Language.

    October 18, 2007 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  23. Scott G, Frederick, MD

    Mr. Stark, quit playing politics with two very important issues. Everyone has strong opinion about both subjects, but to suggest that our President is sending soldiers to get theirs heads blown off "for his amusement" is very over the top. Secondly, Pres. Bush proposed expanded spending on the program to keep those already in it covered, but the Dems wanted to make a grandiose display of "Repubs hate kids" campaign by blowing the program out like a balloon to cover many more people, many of whom really don't need it.

    Mr. Stark, you are the chickenhawk, and your Dem cohorts have done more to undermine the war in Iraq then any traitor ever could. Politics needs to stop at the border..ie...keep it behind closed doors. Threaten Repub programs behind close doors if they dont scale back the Iraq war, fine, I can accept that, but when you air it publicly like you have been the last few years, you give the enemy the best weapon they can have...hope of victory because of American retreat. That gives them every incentive to stay in the fight. They just have to wait us out.

    October 18, 2007 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  24. Marc, St. Paul, MN

    Stark is on CRACK

    October 18, 2007 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  25. dan

    What was so controversial about what he said? 75% of us agree with Rep. Stark. The other 25% can keep the Bush blinders on.

    October 18, 2007 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
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