Former POW McCain: Bergdahl Prisoner Swap A ‘Mistake’

|
June 3, 2014 2:53 p.m.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, said Tuesday that the prisoner swap executed by the Obama administration to bring Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl home from captivity in Afghanistan was a “mistake.”

“This decision to bring Sgt. Bergdahl home — and we applaud that he is home — is ill-founded. It is a mistake,” McCain said during a Senate Republicans press conference on Veterans Affairs reform. “And it is putting the lives of American servicemen and women at risk and that, to me, is unacceptable to the American people.”

McCain objected to trading five Taliban detainees from the Guantanamo Bay facility for Bergdahl, calling them the “hardest and toughest of all” and “wanted war criminals.”

“These people have dedicated their lives to destroying us,” he later added.

Newsletters
Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

That’s a shift from where McCain stood in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper that aired in February, soon after the U.S. military obtained a proof-of-life video of Bergdahl. McCain told Cooper that originally, Bergdahl’s captors had demanded the transfer of five detainees just as a “confidence-building measure.” Once a prisoner swap was reportedly in the cards, however, the senator said he’d be “inclined to support such a thing.”

“I would support — obviously I’d have to know the details — but I would support ways of bringing him home,” he said at the time. “And if exchange was one of them, I think that would be something I think we should seriously consider.”

Latest Livewire
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: