Obama Compares His Actions to Washington, Lincoln, FDR

By Susan Jones | June 3, 2014 | 7:07 AM EDT

President Barack Obama joins Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski at the military airport in Warsaw, on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

(CNSNews.com) - "This is what happens at the end of wars," President Barack Obama said Tuesday when he was asked about swapping American Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban terrorists.

"That was true for George Washington, that was true for Abraham Lincoln, that was true for FDR. That's been true of every combat situation, that at some point, you  make sure that you try to get your folks back. And that's the right thing to do."

Speaking in Poland, Obama said it doesn't matter how Bergdahl ended up with the Taliban:

"But let me just make a very simple point here, and that is -- regardless of the circumstances -- whatever those circumstances may turn out to be -- we still get an American soldier back if he's held in captivity -- period, full stop. We don't condition that. And that's what every mom and dad who sees a son or daughter sent over into war theater should expect from, not just their commander in chief, but the United States of America.



Obama said "absolutely," it's possible that some of the freed Taliban prisoners may rejoin the fight against the U.S.

"In terms of potential threats, the release of the Taliban who were being held in Guantanamo was conditioned on the Qataris keeping eyes on them and creating a structure in which we can monitor their activities. We will be keeping eyes on them.

"Is there the possibility of some of them trying to return to activities that are detrimental to us?  Absolutely. That's been true of all the prisoners that were released from Guantanamo. There's a certain recidivism rate that takes place.

"I wouldn't be doing it if I thought that it was contrary to American national security," Obama continued. "And we have confidence that we will be in a position to go after them if in fact they are engaging in activities that threaten our defense. But this is what happens at the end of wars.

"That was true for George Washington, that was true for Abraham Lincoln, that was true for FDR. That's been true of every combat situation, that at some point, you  make sure that you try to get your folks back. And that's the right thing to do."

Obama said his people have "consulted with Congress for quite some time" about the possibility of a prisoner exchange to bring Bergdahl home.

"We seized that opportunity," he said. "And the process was  truncated because we wanted to be sure we did not miss that window."

Obama said Bergdahl is recovering from five years of captivity, and "we obviously have not been interrogating Sgt. Bergdahl."