Marcus Luttrell, the former Navy SEAL behind the book “Lone Survivor,” unfortunately has a unique understanding of what it’s like to be held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Following a deadly shootout that claimed the lives of three of his Navy SEAL brothers in 2005, Luttrell was briefly captured by the terrorist organization.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Friday asked Luttrell about the Obama administration’s decision to release five Taliban Guantanamo Bay prisoners for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, and whether he would’ve wanted the U.S. government to respond the same way if he never escaped the Taliban.
“Had the situation with you been different, would you have wanted an exchange of prisoners?” Cooper asked.
Without hesitation, Luttrell responded, “No.”
“When I went out there, I knew the risks and I accepted those,” he added. “If I died on the battlefield, then that was the way it was supposed to be. When I did get captured, the only thing I held onto was the fact that my teammates were going to come get me, period.”
Luttrell also came to the defense of Bergdahl’s father, Robert, who some have criticized for statements that have been interpreted by some as sympathetic to Gitmo prisoners.
“I know from experience when I was missing that my family and what they went through, my mother and my father — it’s got to be the most painful thing any parent can experience. And to drop down on them the way a lot of people have is probably a little outside the box,” he said.
However, if Bergdahl did “throw his kit down” and “leave his men behind,” he should be tried for desertion, Luttrell explained.
“The Army will take care of that,” he said. “Heaven help this kid if he’s not a deserter, because he’s already been branded.”
Though he says he never criticizes the commander-in-chief as a military veteran, Luttrell said the parents of the soldiers who died searching for Bergdahl should have been at the celebratory Rose Garden announcement.
Watch the segment via CNN: