O’Reilly & Krauthammer Clash Over Bergdahl
On “The O’Reilly Factor” Monday, host Bill O’Reilly was stunned to hear conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer’s perspective on the Obama administration’s decision to trade five high-ranking Taliban detainees for alleged deserter Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
In a segment on “why the left does not want Bowe Bergdahl punished,” O’Reilly began by countering a New York Times op-ed arguing Bergdahl should not be prosecuted for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Though he called for some leniency, O’Reilly couldn’t accept the idea of giving Bergdahl “an honorable discharge and a check for more than $300,000,” maintaining that Bergdahl’s conduct was “so dangerous, it has to be prosecuted.” O’Reilly chided the New York Times piece for attempting to blame the military and concluded that in the end, the defense of Bergdahl was really about wanting yet another Obama political blunder to go away.
Krauthammer agreed with O’Reilly’s position on punishing Bergdahl, saying “it’s not a question of vengeance, it’s a question of justice,” but he added that he believed the Bergdahl trade was “justified,” saying, “I say you bring him back even though the price is very high.”
O’Reilly couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
O’REILLY: Okay, so let me get this straight. Let me get this straight. If you were the president of the United States, you would have traded five top Taliban commanders … for Sgt. Bergdahl? You would have made that deal?
Krauthammer defended his position, citing past Israeli trades for prisoners, and explaining how we would have handled the announcement of the trade much differently than Obama:
KRAUTHAMMER: I would’ve made the deal, but I would’ve issued a statement saying it is with the deepest regret, this is a terrible day, this is a dark day, we had to release people who we know will go to war against us, but we have a principle, we want to bring people back if we can.
Krauthammer underscored that though he would have made the trade, Bergdahl must be held accountable for his actions, but O’Reilly made clear that he disagreed with Krauthammer on the logic of the trade, telling the columnist, “You’re desperately wrong on this.”