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. Lynda

    Obama should take as long as he needs to do the right thing......we are tired of the last 8 years of SHOOTING FOR THE HIP with out thinking of the repercussions........Bush started this WAR and then turned his BACK on it to invade Iraq and left the men and women in Afganistan like second hand hand-me-downs.........so shut up Republifcans and let this administration do their job, they certaining can't and won't do as poorly as the Bush/Chaney administration did

    October 25, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  2. Bpin

    Blame it on Bush. Everything that is going wrong in the BHO administration is GWB's fault. It is like a broken record. No one has to remind us of GWB's failed presidency. GWB is no longer in office. Get over it. Start doing something. Make a decision. Stop the blame game.

    October 25, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  3. bob

    Afghanistan will take between 20 and 30 to complete it is very different than Iraq, we are there for two main reasons keep the terrorists from having a base and draw them to our military and kill them before they come here and attack our civilians, that is why we need more men, the more people we have the safer on our troops. Everything will work if they let it.

    October 25, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  4. paksa

    This administration's continued and constant attempts to blame the previous administration for everything is getting very, very tiresome. Even those who once had so much confidence in this president are questioning the continued attempts to blame and not take responsibility. Enough is enough and this kind of behavior makes this administration look weak, uninformed, and lacking in true leadership capabilities. Just because the accolades are diminshing is no reason to play the blame game, a game that the people just aren't buying into any longer.

    October 25, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  5. Welcome to Communist States of America

    Typical Obambi and liberals, when succeed they said it's theirs. When failed, blame it on others. America will be gone because of these cowards (never want to take responsibility) and hypocrites.

    October 25, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  6. Tom from Illinois

    Rahm Emanuel- straight out of Chicago politics. Would you trust him?
    I don't.

    October 25, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  7. J

    Republicans = self-absorbed cry babies misleading american people to protect their and their budd's individual wealth. Just think how much under Bush and the Repub's the 1% of the top 1% got richer while the rest of us (including upper middle class got poorer. )

    The people at Haliburton aren't complaining...well I take that back...Cheney is. Sadly, most of the country is too stupid or racist to figure out that Obama actually has really helped the country in a remarkably short period of time. Think of the disaster that McCain and Palin would have been.

    People, figure this out before it all goes to the corporations

    October 25, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  8. tata mcgee

    Mr. Obama needs to set aside now and allow a bipartisan group with GOP leadership take control of the government. Mr. Obama has shown that he is grossly incompetant and does not have the best interst of the American people at heart. Mr. Obama's lies and deception are so wide spread now that not even CNN can cover them up.

    October 25, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  9. Lance

    I find it so so funny that the Bush administration tried to blame 9/11 on the Clinton's after being in power 9 months.Can we please play the game by some timeline rules?The Republicans have shown the most incompetent war time strategy of any Presidency EVER.We have been at war longer than WW1 & WW2 combined.The only thing that they ever got right was all the graft and corruption.The "Surge"needs to be be renamed into the "Bribe".We could go on and on.The bottom line is we need to give President O'bama the same patience we showed the former president!!!

    October 25, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  10. reuvenl

    obamahs holding out so he won't have to make any wromg moves that will ruin a chance for dem goveners to be elected ....wake up people

    October 25, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  11. Bill H.

    I believe nothing that Emanuel says. Its all back room Chicago politics to him. Gillespie is right on!

    October 25, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  12. gino

    Boy, Karen, if I could tell whether to trust people or not by their eyes, I could rule the world. And so could you–which you would obviously love to do. But I can't and you can't (thank God) so let's limp along by judging people by what they do, rather than by "the look in their eye."

    PS Have you looked at Cheney's eyes real closely lately?

    October 25, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  13. g

    has this guy been living in a cave for the last eight years

    October 25, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  14. Tellitlikeitis

    Now now! We all know only the Democrats and The supreme Obama can criticize. Funny, for 8 years Bush was in office the Dems cried and whined daily, now if you say a single thing negative about Obama the whiners cry even louder and as the hypocrites they are will say crap such as, "we should stop pointing fingers..". Maybe you people should practice what you preach.....

    October 25, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  15. Plinking Reality

    What Gillespie never explains is why none of the things Emanuel addressed like an Afghani Army, an Afghani Security Force, and Afghani services were addressed over the previous 7 years. Maybe if they had paid attention to Afghanistan for the previous 7 years, a last ditch review and proposal before leaving office wouldn't have been necessary to cover their collective political backsides.

    October 25, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  16. pbj

    everyone may have made fun of Dubya when he said he was "the decider," but at least when it came time to make a decision, he could make one. I'd rather have someone whose syntax was a little goofy but knew how to make a decision than someone who talks pretty, but can't actually make a decision.

    October 25, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  17. Mark in Dallas

    It is very clear that this administration feels more comfortable on the campaign trail than actually doing any good work. That is why they spend so much effort attacking the media, the corporations that make a profit, and the US Chamber of Commerce. Some one should tell them they won the election and get off the campaign trail and get down to business.

    October 25, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  18. Ryan indy

    When is Obama going to grow up and actually take responsiblity on anythng???? Obama is an arrogant dirty politician that is in way over his head and everyone including Democrats now know this. Rahm is probably one of the dirtiest Cheif of Staff in 50yrs plus and everyone around Obama is from the same Chicago style politics. Gw was a honest God-fearing good american that did make mistakes but made them while everyone still knew he made them while he loved this country and was trying to do the best thing for America even if it wasnt a popular decision at the time, you can not say the same thing for Obama. Obama truly is a small small man.

    October 25, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  19. Mike in Dallas

    You cant believe anything a Repub says. Start with Nixon and work down. They all lie. Repubs dont love America, Only Money "STRAIGHT DEM TICKET" is the way to get us out of the hole.

    October 25, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  20. Tim D.

    Give it up Libs....give it up already. Bush is out, his administration is out, start taking responsibility and stop blaming those who came before you. Oh, wait, you can't take responsibility can you, you can't be held accountable, that's so un-democratic, it's so much easier to blame. I'm so tired of your crap, can't wait until the mid terms and some of you can be turned back.

    October 25, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  21. OH

    Bush all the time in the world to take out the bad guys. We had the backing of every nation on Earth but Bush preferred to divert his focus and point his compass on Iraq. This was the end of all well natured meaning and the start of an unrising that has now left us in limbo.

    What were they thinking? WMD in Iraq, Oil and of course; the huge war machine; Afghanistan was not providing the amount needed to spend and waste tax payers money.

    Where is Osama? Why his he not captured after eight years and trillions spent. Osama must be laughing all the way to the bank for having set in motion the waste and mismanagement of a misguided political movement.

    October 25, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  22. WIll 18E

    "Emanuel, knows full well,,I suspect" What kind of double speak is that coming from the failed Bush administration. either you Know or you suspect. make up your mind.
    After Secretary Gates released the 65 page report, he went on the sunday morning talks shows, and said I quote, The policy in Afghanistan was to fight a holding pattern." Yes the Bush administration policy was not to win but to waste $$$ time and lives. Thank GOD, the Obama administration has called for an reevaluation of the mission. Lastly Obama has more than doubles troop levels there on his orders, so any comment from the peanut galley that he is not committed, is pure fantasy.

    October 25, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  23. LilSugar

    I'm sick of this war. You want us to train the Afghanistan army so that they can fight the Taliban. But all we are doing is training their army, (both the one in Afghanistan and Iraq0 our military techniques and in the end the only thing they are both going to do is use our military training to rise up against us. You don't see any other countries going into the middle east and training those people how to fignt. When will we recognize that these people do not want a democracy and they in particular don't want to live like us. They don't like us. Everything that we believe in are things they hate. We need to take care of home first and quit wasting money on a dead horse. We can't steal their oil, those people are not as stupid as the Bush administration thought they were. The Repukes only wants Obama to continue this war because war is money. And they are making a lot of money off of this war. You don't see China trying to teach another country's military how to fight. We taught the Chineese people how to use free trade with us and now they have all of the market and money and we don't have toot.

    October 25, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  24. Tom

    This guy we call president at the moment doesn't have the courage to do anything on his own. I'm surprised he can decide where to have lunch without somebody telling him. He is the most useless and most dangerous president this country has ever had. I don't know of one thing he hasn't lied about since he has been in office.

    But this decision on the war is not one he can slide off to someone else so eventually he has to make a decision. It takes so long because it is the decision of any substance that he has to make.

    Other decisions this guy has made are destroying our economy and our country. God help us as we'll really need it before this guy is out.

    October 25, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  25. Dave

    Ed Gillespie and Dick Cheney should sit down and shut up. They brought the curse of 100,000 dead Babylonians upon us, They had 8 years and they muffed it up. Big O has barely had 8 months. GOP has zero credibility. GOP = LIE

    October 25, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
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