Negotiating with Terrorists Among the many critics of the swap was Republican senator Ted Cruz, who in an interview on ABC's "This Week," stated, "U.S. policy has changed. Now we make deals with terrorists... The reason why the U.S. has had the policy for decades of not negotiating with terrorists is because once you start doing it, every other terrorist has an incentive to capture more soldiers."
ANALYSIS: When Terrorists Strike Here: Who's on Front Lines
Cruz is correct about the rationale of the argument against negotiating with kidnappers, but he seems unaware that practice has been the de facto policy in America and around the world for decades. Ronald Reagan infamously traded arms for hostages in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal, and it still goes on today.
President George W. Bush, for example, made his position on negotiating with terrorists crystal clear. On April 4, 2002, he said, "No nation can negotiate with terrorists. For there is no way to make peace with those whose only goal is death." Bush said that the United States would work for the return of kidnapped American military personnel and civilians, but will not pay any ransom: "We, of course, don't pay ransom for any hostages," he stated firmly.