October 25th, 2009
11:32 PM ET
3 years ago

Former Bush aide: Emanuel 'uninformed or willfully misleading'

Ed Gillespie said Sunday that Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was either 'uninformed or willfully misleading' on the issue of Afghanistan.
Ed Gillespie said Sunday that Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was either 'uninformed or willfully misleading' on the issue of Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A one-time aide to former President George W. Bush took aim Sunday at recent comments by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that questioned the Bush administration's conduct of the war in Afghanistan.

Last Sunday on CNN's State of the Union, Emanuel strongly suggested that the current scenario in Afghanistan – with a contentious election last month casting a cloud over an already difficult security situation – was the result of missteps on the part of the previous administration.

"It's clear that basically we had a war [in Afghanistan] for eight years that was going on, that's adrift," Emanuel told CNN's John King, "that we're beginning at scratch, just at the starting point, after eight years – and that there's not an [Afghan] security force, an [Afghan] army, and the types of services that are important for the Afghans to become a true partner."

"There's a set of questions that have to have answers that have never been asked," Emanuel also said last Sunday.

Responding to Emanuel, former Bush counselor Ed Gillespie said Sunday on State of the Union that Obama's Chief of Staff "was either uninformed or willfully misleading in what he said."

Gillepsie told King that the Bush administration conducted its own thorough review of the Afghanistan war but did not disclose it publicly at the request of the incoming Obama administration.

"[Emanuel] knows full well – I suspect – that there was a proposal given and a review given that took into account the Afghan national army, the politics over there, the policing, the international framework," Gillespie said Sunday.

After Emanuel's remarks last Sunday, former Vice President Dick Cheney resurfaced after several weeks out of the public eye and said that President Obama was "dithering" over the decision about Afghanistan troop levels.

The White House quickly shot back at Cheney.

"What Vice President Cheney calls 'dithering,' President Obama calls his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform and to the American public," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

Obama is currently conducting an extensive review of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. In the midst of the review, the country held a presidential election last month which observers say was tainted by fraud and corruption.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, has reportedly asked the White House for 40,000 additional troops to carry out a counterinsurgency strategy in the country. The White House, in recent comments by Emanuel and other senior Obama aides, has suggested that the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan depends on the stability and functionality of the Afghan government. That, the White House has also suggested, cannot be sufficiently determined until the country's runoff presidential election early next month.

–CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney contributed to this report.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Extra • Popular Posts • Rahm Emanuel • State of the Union
soundoff (179 Responses)
  1. Karen

    I will be so glad when the Obama administration stops blaming the Bush administration for everything. He seems to be very hesitant to make decisions. As for Rahm Emanuel – look at his eyes, can we trust him???

    October 25, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. stike1

    where does Gillespie want to start on misteps. Failing to heed warnings about plane attacks, welcomed as liberators, mission accomplished complete with uniformed Bush. and there is always the economy that started tanking during the Republicans time in office. And as Sonny & Cher so ably stated – "And the beat goes on".

    October 25, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. KJ

    Let's concede on Mr. Gillespie his point that Bush left a review for the new adminstration. What continues to be forgotten is the fact that Bush never finished what he started. The focus on Iraq, which was not directly responsible for 9/11, allowed the Taliban to regroup and is a primary reason for today's predicament.

    October 25, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  4. paul

    To all in POLITICS ... just do more of your job and less attacking and blaming others. Its been over 9 months since Obama has been in office and everything can not be blamed now on the previous president. Take responsibility and take action. War is war and we must act quickly, as well as responsibly.

    Stop the blame game on all sides.

    October 25, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. Mr. Phil

    Yeah, because I'm supposed to believe anything from an administration that lied to us about WMDs in Iraq and that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. The ONLY reason we went to Iraq was so Bushie Jr. could finish what Bushie Sr. started, so he could finally get daddy's approval. Bush's cronies need to give it up already. We're done with their lies.

    October 25, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  6. www.zazzle.com/TheProgram

    this is all getting very tiresome. it's someone else's turn now. let them do their jobs.

    October 25, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. Nguyen

    How many times during the last 8 years did Bush administration reviewed the situation in Afghanistant, and what did they do about it? If you fought a war like Gulf 1, surely you should give the generals everything they wanted. The Afghan war might be just another war for the generals, but it was a total different kind of war. As in VN, it was not a pure military war. It might be more effective to fight this war with less on the military side and more on the civilian side.

    October 25, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. jayjohn

    Obama bring our troops home if your not going to give them what
    they need to succeed in this war.

    October 25, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  9. Bassman

    Time to tell the truth, Rahm Emanual was caught in a lie. This is is straight out of book The Thumpin: How Rahm Emanual and the Democrats Learned to be ruthless and ended the Republican revolution.

    October 25, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. ATL Guy

    You republicans want us to quickly sweep the Bush era under the rug and move on. We refuse too because every single thing we're going through right now is a direct result of Bush's mismanagement. He and the Republicans passed tax cuts for the rich without paying for it. They also passed an incredibly expensive Medicare Drug Bill without paying for it either. They waged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with no funding sources while having both wars go to hell in a hand basket. They were inept and irresponsible with the nations money and need to be called on it. After 7 years in Afghanistan, they need to be called out for not having done anything to advance the war there. Instead they took all of the troops to Iraq leaving a token force behind. We are in the mess we're in because of Bush/Cheney.

    October 25, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  11. Cheryl

    I thought Bush was bad, but Obama and his thugs take the cake! We have all be hoodooed!!!!!

    October 25, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. Dave

    Are the new lies as bad as the old lies? Is lying now an inherent part of the administration? Seems everyone in power cannot stick to the truth and is in the business of blaming, having specific agendas, and so on (I mean the Bush, the Clinton and the current administration... they all seem to have their problems with the truth)...

    October 25, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. JON

    Give Obama the same kind of America when Bush took office and then Repubicans and Rep. consers. can talk. When you leave a pile of Crap it's going to take some time to clean it up and get the smell out.

    October 25, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  14. annie against biased news

    I guess I am a little slow. How can obama's incapability to make a decision to 'his' general's request be bush's fault. Sorry, I am trying to figure that out but am just a little slow to comprehend that.

    October 25, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  15. Royster

    Bush was a WAR president in his own words..only trouble was...he only started wars, he never finished them, and never did any deep analysis on them other than continually ask for more money. No wonder Mr. Gillespie seems 'dizzy' to try and spin the Bush years as positively as he can...any release of their supposed 'analysis' will show nothing near as intelligent as the current administration's stance to see how the runoff elections go.

    October 25, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  16. jonny

    Emanuel is just a political anaimal. He doesn't understand real issues such as the Afghan war.
    He seems to think that blaming others for everything and taking no responsibility for anything will win Obama points.
    Americans are a little too mature for such childish games.

    October 25, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  17. Drew

    Afghanistan was our first real protracted war since Vietnam...protracted because the Bush administration became obsessed and distracted with Iraq, a war which was a monumental strategic blunder to even start. For more than seven years that Administration had precious little resources to give to the Afghanistan conflict and people are only NOW wondering why things are not going well there? Typical American press and public...suffering from short term memory loss.

    October 25, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  18. Confident

    Look, just like the President himself and the party he leads, it is now our role to never take responsibilty and always cast blame.
    Junior comes home from school with an "F", it's not his fault, it must be the oppressed curriculum.
    John Doe gets fired; can't be his fault, the mean corporate boss expected results.
    Entertainer A sleeps with his staff members and thus cheats on his wife and kids...not his fault, blame someone else.
    In fact, if you don't like my opinion on this topic then I choose to blame my parents for insisting that despite the fact that we grew up poor because they lost their union jobs, I should take responsibility for my actions.

    October 25, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. Pragmatic

    Bush owns the problem in Afghanistan: he left it for his successor – either Obama or McCain to solve it: Its not "blame" but "responsibility". Its a mess that President Obama will have to clean up: he didn't start it but he will have to end it. To forget who ignored Afghanistan to invade Iraq is a pathetic attempt to rewrite history... a history we all remember.

    October 25, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  20. Eric in Cali

    EVERYONE is weary of hearing the Bush Blame Game. Just do your job, Obama. The honeymoon is over. Now, just do your job.

    October 25, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  21. Jim in Idaho

    Well let's see.....the Bush administration didn't capture Bin Laden in Afghanistan , didn't capture Mullah Omar in Afghanistan, let all the al-Qaeda escape into Pakistan....and then while sending no troops there due to being bogged down in Iraq allowed the Taliban to come back into Afghanistan in droves.....and put a guy into office (Karzai) who now seems to be quite corrupt–all well prior to Democrats winning and taking office.

    Sounds like less than great planning and execution to me Mr. Gillespie....or am I willfully misleading people by pointing these things out?

    October 25, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  22. zap01

    Aide? I seriously doubt he aided much. If I was briefed by the Bush admin you can sure bet I would seek other opinions too. There is no way I would trust any evaluations from that corrupted bunch.

    October 25, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. Cato

    Ed needs to pay attention at the TIME of these screwups, instead of waiting for someone to point out the truth, years later!!

    October 25, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  24. BRogge, Ivanhoe, MN 56142

    Yes Raham can be trusted. He is a good man. Of course the Obama administration looks a little lame right now; their are still cleaning up the mess from the previous adm. It takes a good 12-14 months just to let the negatives slow down and then he (Obama) can start making decisions on his own that will make a difference. It took 8 + years to get into the mess we are in so be patient, smarter and cooler heads will prevail. We have a great Constitution and (it) will prevail.

    October 25, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  25. S Callahan

    Fourtunately, the American public doesn't buy the hogwash.

    October 25, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
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