Tags: Afghanistan | Ted Cruz | War on Terrorism | ted cruz | bergdahl | taliban | prisoner

Ted Cruz: 'Have We Just Put a Price on Other U.S. Soldiers?'

Image: Ted Cruz: 'Have We Just Put a Price on Other U.S. Soldiers?'

By Sandy Fitzgerald   |   Sunday, 01 Jun 2014 12:48 PM

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is glad for the return of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from five years in captivity, but is also concerned about the release of five Taliban prisoners to secure his freedom.

"Look, all of us celebrate with Sgt. Bergdahl and his family," Cruz told ABC "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos Sunday. "At the same time the terms of the deal are very troubling... how many soldiers lost their lives to capture those five Taliban we released?"

The Texas freshman senator said he is concerned that the deal will send the wrong message to terrorists and sets a dangerous precedent.

"Have we just put a price on other U.S. soldiers?' he said. "What does this tell terrorists? If you capture a U.S. soldier, you can trade that soldier for five terrorists?"

Cruz said there were other options to secure Bergdahl's freedom.

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"We can use military force as needed to rescue our fallen compatriots," Cruz said. "Sgt. 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 directly or indirectly for threatening of U.S. civilian lives? The idea we're now making trades? What does that do for every soldier stationed aboard?"

Such deals, said Cruz, are "part and parcel with the pattern we have seen of the Obama administration across the board."

Cruz told Stephanopoulos that he is hearing concerns from overseas officials, including during his travels to Israel, Poland, and Estonia in May, that America is being perceived as weak.

"Our leadership is missing," Cruz said. "When America's weak, it leaves our friends and allies vulnerable and it makes the world a lot more dangerous."

The Obama administration is also making America look weak in Russia and Ukraine, said Cruz.

"President Obama should have spoken out clearly in support of freedom and in support of the protesters when the protests began," he said. "America should speak out for freedom. After that, we should stand with our allies and not give in to Russia."

One step would be to install antiballistic weapons in Europe, said Cruz, but Obama canceled that plan to "appease [Russian President Vladimir] Putin."

The United States should also be using energy as a tool to liberate the Ukrainian people and impose costs on Putin, said Cruz.

Cruz also addressed statements about the attacks on the Benghazi diplomatic post made in former secretary of state Hillary Clinton's memoir.

In the book she said that people intent on politicizing the attacks will have to do so without her. Cruz, though, said that with Clinton, "it seems to be all politics all the time," and her statements are "pure political spin."

And as for a potential Clinton presidency, "her policies, domestically and internationally haven't worked. America has weakened. Our enemies have been strengthened. We're in the middle of cutting a deal right now with Iran which I fear is repeating the mistakes of the Clinton administration in 1990."

But, Cruz, also a potential presidential candidate in 2016, did not directly answer Stephanopoulos' question about his own possible campaign.

"What I'm ready to do is to make the case to the American people that the path we're on isn't working," he said. "The people who have been hurt the most by the Obama economy are the most vulnerable among us, the young, African Americans, single moms...What we're doing isn't working. Those are the people that we need to fight for."

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