Neoconservative Fox News contributor John Bolton on Saturday blasted President Barack Obama as "despicable" for negotiating for the release of a U.S. Army sergeant who had been held captive in Afghanistan for five years.
Just hours after the president announced that 28-year-old Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had been freed, Bolton told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro that a dangerous precedent had been set by trading five Guantanamo Bay prisoners for one American.
"The president has sent the Taliban an unmistakable signal that he will pay any price to get the United States out, and that's a signal that's bad for Taliban and al Qaeda to hear and our adversaries around the world," Bolton opined. "And perhaps even worse, it is despicable for a president of the United States to grant moral equivalence to these terrorist in Gitmo compared to an American servicemember. The idea that there's any equivalence at all between and American soldier and a terrorist, I think, is reprehensible."
Pirro argued that Obama was "putting us in jeopardy" by accepting Qatar's assurances that the five prisoners would not return to the battlefield.
"Well, he is," Bolton agreed. "When you put a price on an American like Sgt. Bergdahl, you put a price on all Americans, and the Taliban know that."
"And basically teeing it up for Americans to be abducted!" Pirro declared.
"Look, if the Taliban had said, 'Give us $100 million and we'll give you back Bergdahl,' would we have done that?" Bolton asked. "Of course not. They say, 'Give us five terrorists,' and we do. That is both negotiating with terrorists and moral equivalence. They're both bad mistakes by the president."
In 2009, Fox News contributor Ralph Peters suggested that the Taliban should execute Bergdahl because he was a deserter.
"[I]f he walked away from his post and his buddies in wartime, I don’t care how hard it sounds, as far as I’m concerned, the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills," Peters said.