Might as well put this conclusion on repeat. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) spoke and PolitiFact found him “Mostly False”.
After President Obama announced that we negotiated for America’s “only prisoner of war”, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, to be safely returned to us, Republicans freaked out like they do every time Obama is successful at something. Don’t remind them that he got Osama, that sends them into severe shriek mode.
So Republicans accused Obama of negotiating with terrorists. National security adviser Susan Rice explained on This Week that the US was at war with those who held Bergdahl. Republicans apparently hate it when Susan Rice is allowed to speak on TV, so this really got under their skin.
Ted Cruz was so bothered that he puffed, “Ambassador Rice basically said to you, ‘Yes, U.S. policy has changed. Now we make deals with terrorists.'” The Republican Senator later clarified, “The reason why the U.S. has had the policy for decades of not negotiating with terrorists is because once you start doing it, every other terrorist has an incentive to capture more soldiers.”
PolitiFact pointed out that many previous Presidents have negotiated with terrorists under Cruz’ definition, and furthermore, former President Bush negotiated with his self-dubbed “Axis of Evil” Iran and North Korea:
Here’s a few, according to Reiss’ book:
After the North Koreans captured the U.S.S. Pueblo in 1968, President Lyndon Johnson apologized for spying as part of negotiations to secure the release of 83 American prisoners.
In 1970, President Richard Nixon pressured Israel, Switzerland, West Germany and Britain to release Palestinian prisoners after two airlines were hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
During the Iran hostage crisis of 1979 to 1981, President Jimmy Carter agreed to unfreeze $8 billion in frozen Iranian assets after more than a year of negotiations with the Iranian revolutionaries.
In perhaps the most famous swap, after seven Americans were captured in Beirut, Lebanon, President Ronald Reagan agreed to send missiles to Iran in what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal.
President Bill Clinton’s administration sat down with Hamas in attempts to negotiate peace with Israel. His administration also worked directly with the Taliban nearly two decades ago on several occasions to see if the group would hand over Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders.
Reiss also noted that President George W. Bush engaged in negotiations with Iran and North Korea even after decreeing them part of the “Axis of Evil.”
There are those in the know who contend that the Taliban are not conventional terrorists like al-Quaida. But that’s really not the point. The point is that Ted Cruz doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but he’s still talking with all of the unearned hubris and “wacko-birdness” he inflicts upon the Senate.
It was Bush who started the “War on Terror”, so that terrorism became the new enemy. It was Republicans who changed the definition of war under Bush, thus giving a President the kind of constitutional power to do what Obama just did.
Thus just like we negotiated for our troops return from previous enemies, so too we negotiate on this new frontier for our troops return. This is not the same thing as negotiating with terrorists, like say, those who would shut down the entire United States government in order to override the Constitution and democracy, so they could pretend that they won an election they lost. No, the person who did that is Ted Cruz.
Cruz earned a Mostly False because, “Cruz said Obama changed “decades” of policy of not negotiating with terrorists when he brokered the deal that brought Bergdahl home. Even though presidents and officials often say “we do not negotiate with terrorists,” it has not proven to be a hard-and-fast rule. Obama’s actions so far do not signal a change in policy, but rather the latest in a long line of exceptions presidents have made throughout recent history.”
A long line of exceptions, but the screeching only started when this president did it. Yes, there is a difference in that Obama “traded” Gitmo detainees for a prisoner of war, but weren’t missiles that armed many worse than Gitmo detainees, if it’s national security that’s the issue? See Reagan, but first stop by the empty “logic” square where hyperventilating Republicans are busy Romneying their previous positions on Sgt. Bowe Bergdah, just so they can criticize Obama.
Republicans are so worried that President Obama might get credit for doing something good that they are willing to troll the troops.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.