Matthews Blasts Bergdahl Deal as ‘Nasty,’ ‘Disreputable,’ ‘Driven By Our Enemies’

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MSNBC host Chris Matthews has made no secret of his dismay over the Obama administration’s release of five Taliban commanders to get back suspected deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, calling it “disreputable” and a “nasty deal” in the “Let Me Finish” portion of Hardball Wednesday.

“I have a strong disagreement with anyone who thinks we should normally release these people, as long as the war in Afghanistan continues, and we Americans have troops and diplomats in country, as we will after these five Taliban figures have gotten past the even limited detention they now face in Qatar,” he said. “To say this trade is messy is an understatement, which sadly does not mean it wasn’t the only deal there was. To get Sergeant Bergdahl released, we had to do something disreputable. It’s up to the partisan critics now, however, to say how they would have gotten this soldier home under less disgusting terms.”

Matthews also laid out the total control the Taliban seek over people’s lives in Afghanistan and their “24/7 regime on dress, food, sex, religion, life itself.”

“I have no direct information on how [Obama] made the decision on Bowe Bergdahl,” Matthews said. “What I do know is that the trade of prisoners was not the stuff of celebration. It was a nasty deal, one driven by our enemies. If we wanted our guy out alive, we had to release five of their killers.”

Full statement:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Not being President of the United States or even one of his aides, I have no direct information on how he made the decision on Bowe Bergdahl. What I do know is that the trade of prisoners was not the stuff of celebration. It was a nasty deal, one driven by our enemies. If we wanted our guy out alive, we had to release five of their killers. Not all combatants in war are the same. Not all fight by the same rules nor do they fight for the same causes, obviously. The Taliban fight so they can suppress people, so they can punish those who reject or disregard its dictated code, its 24/7 regime on dress, food, sex, religion, life itself. The Taliban asserts a total control over what a person does all day, every day. It hates and destroys anyone who believes in anything but what it believes. It is, let us agree, as ruthless, bloody, and brutal on the battlefield as it is on the home front, if ever it gets the power to claim a stake in one.

Well, these are the people who we went in to fight in Afghanistan, the people we’ve been fighting to keep out of power, obviously. The people we just released from our prison in Guantanamo, the five of them. I have a strong disagreement with anyone who thinks we should normally release these people, as long as the war in Afghanistan continues, and we Americans have troops and diplomats in country, as we will after these five Taliban figures have gotten past the even limited detention they now face in Qatar. To say this trade is messy is an understatement, which sadly does not mean it wasn’t the only deal there was. To get Sergeant Bergdahl released, we had to do something disreputable. It’s up to the partisan critics now, however, to say how they would have gotten this soldier home under less disgusting terms.