MSBNC host Chris Matthews expressed criticism for the prisoner swap of top Taliban leaders in exchange for "AWOL" Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, playing clips of statements Bergdahl made before he went missing from his post in 2009 and asking skeptically whether the military thinks this deal is "a good deal for America."
"He left his uniform behind, he left his rifle behind, and he told people if he didn't like the mission he was heading to Pakistan," Matthews said to Marine Corps veteran and MSNBC opinion columnist Goldie Taylor.
"He wasn't in uniform, he left the uniform behind," Matthews said.
"He was a serving U.S. soldier -" The Daily Beast's Kim Dozier responded in the segment.
""But he left his post and he said - this is what I don't understand," Matthews asked. "Was he AWOL? And if not, why not? Why didn't [the Army] declare him AWOL? He's been missing, he walked into enemy hands - apparently not on purpose, but he was heading out of the country..."
"Because they couldn't ask him why he left," Dozier replied. "And because in the proof of life videos he asked for help from the U.S. government to come home."
"What is your sense - can you report on what the military feels about this whole thing? Do they feel that it was right to take the steps we took, to release five potentially - reasonably dangerous people, I mean they're being kept at Gitmo because we can't try them and we didn't want to release them, do they think that's a good deal for America?" Matthews asked skeptically.
"The military is not monolithic," Dozier replied. "They are hoping this will be a trust-building measure [with the Afghan government.]"
"I just wonder what that could possibly - women have to now be covered up, their faces have to be covered up, no more movies over there, they blow up Buddhas again," Matthews said. "Are we going back to crazy Taliban behavior? . . . What kind of deal are we striking with these people?"
"Some critics have questioned whether the price was too high for someone who, it's been widely reported, walked off his base," Matthews said.
"The United States government is at war with the Taliban. They are," Matthews told Goldie Taylor. "We went into that country to overthrow the Taliban. They kill them if they got in our way. Now we're sending five of the killers back to where they came from."
"And there's no doubt they're too dangerous to try, too dangerous to let go - that's why we have Gitmo. So we're spending them back over there to do what? What kind of a trade is this?"