Rep. Pete Stark needs to be applauded for apologizing for his remarks about President Bush sending troops to Iraq to have their "heads blown off for the president's amusement." He initially dug in and, with nutroots support, refused to back down. But sanity prevailed, and Stark did the right thing. He should be rewarded for turning toward civility, and not castigated for his intemperate remarks. The right should not engage in smug triumphalism here: this should instead be a 'teachable moment' for leftists everywhere instructing them that the American people respect and value dissent, but draw the line at unreasoned hatred. Accusing the President of sending troops to their death for his own amusement is indeed hate, Stark has realized that, and has retreated from his malignant opinion.
His extremist followers need a good lesson in decency, and Stark should be encouraged to set a good example.