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.