Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told ABC News Sunday that the U.S. should not have negotiated with the Taliban to secure the release of captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, and that Bergdahl himself wouldn’t have approved of the terms of his release.
Host of “This Week” George Stephanopolis asked Cruz about Bergdahl’s release after being held prisoner for nearly five years. Negotiations for his return were reportedly mediated by the government of Qatar. In return, the U.S. released five Afghan prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay.
“Well, look, all of us celebrate with Sergeant Bergdahl, with his family, I mean, looking at his parents there, I mean, that's emotional and it's powerful,” Cruz said. “At the same time the terms of the deal are very troubling.”
“Why?” asked Stephanopolis.
“Well, for one thing, how many soldiers lost their lives to capture those five Taliban terrorists that we just released?” Cruz responded. “You know, Ambassador Rice basically said to you, yes, U.S. policy has changed. Now we make deals with terrorists.”
“And the question going forward is, have we just put a price on other U.S. soldiers?" he continued. "What does this tell terrorists, that if you capture a U.S. soldier, you can trade that soldier for five terrorists we've gone after."
“If you were president, you wouldn't have negotiated?” Stephanopolis asked.
“I do not think the way to deal with terrorists is through releasing other violent terrorists. I mean...” Cruz said.
“But what if that's the only way to get Bergdahl home?” Stephanopolis pressed.
“It's not the only way,” Cruz argued. “We can go in and use military force, as needed, to rescue our fallen compatriots. But, look, Sergeant Bergdahl was fighting to capture these terrorists.”
“Can you imagine what he would say to his fallen comrades who lost their lives to stop these people who were responsible, either directly or indirectly, for threatening or taking U.S. civilian lives?” Cruz said. “I mean, that's why we sent our soldiers there. And the idea that we're now making trades, what does that do for every single soldier stationed abroad?”
National Security Advisor Susan Rice said Sunday that Bergdahl, 28, was a “prisoner of war, taken on the battlefield,” and that the U.S. has a “sacred obligation” to free POWs.
His father, Bob Bergdahl, said his son is “having trouble speaking English.”
"The complicated nature of this recovery will really never be comprehended,” he said.