The United States has always been a country to kick butt and take names.

We’ve adapted a rigid system while dealing with adversaries, of which includes how the U.S. under no circumstance will pay a ransom. News broke in the past week that President Barack Obama possibly paid a ransom in a $400 million payment to Iran the same day that four captives were released by Iran.

Some people don’t understand why this is such a big deal. We have four Americans back home, alive to tell the story. So what’s the issue? The first issue is that there has been a long-standing policy in the U.S. that we, under no circumstances, negotiate with hostile actors.

We cannot put ourselves into a position where we can continually be ambushed because we have a history of “paying up.” This dates back to the Barbary pirates, and we put an end to it there.

Obama claims that this payment was related to a decades old arms agreement the U.S. had with Iran, and the payment date just so happened to fall on the day that Iran decided to release the American captives. Whether or not this is true, issuing the payment before the release of the captives looks absolutely terrible.

It has made the American public question one more of this president’s decisions, and it has made us look like a nation that pays ransoms.

You see, the point of all of this is easily explained by Sen. Tom Cotton. Cotton says that it doesn’t matter so much how the American citizens perceive this, it matters how terrorists globally perceive this. It matters how aggressive actors have seen this act. Regardless of what “really” happened, it looks terrible and makes us look like we will cave into any pressure.

I personally think it already looks and is bad enough that we are even giving $400 million worth of funding to Iran, when the State Department urged Obama not to, and it has been said that there is a good possibility that some of that money will be used to fund terrorism.

Kind of like how we armed Libya and accidentally armed ISIS in the process.

I really do think that’s $400 million that could have been put to good use domestically.

These deals with Iran are a slap in the face to Americans all over, especially those who have recently served in our military.

I think the most damning aspect of this possible ransom payment is that one of the American hostages claims that he was not allowed to leave the tarmac until another plane landed, and an exchange was made, presumably money for the freedom of the Americans.

If that isn’t compelling enough evidence to lead anyone to believe that this was anything but the payment of a ransom, then I don’t know what is.

Amanda Long is a freelance writer for The Gazette-Virginian.