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

Former Bush aide: Emanuel 'uninformed or willfully misleading'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/25/art.gillespie1025.cnn.jpg caption="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. Nev

    I think Rahm has a serious point, actually. Bush's Afghani strategy was just awful.

    October 25, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  2. Ken Williams

    The man has a point. How can we trust Obama to win a war on terror when he can't win a war against Fox news. News Flash he's a weakling, who's laughed at across the world. Its pretty bad when France has more of a leader than the USA.

    October 25, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  3. Shelly CO

    The Afghan war should have been the focus of the previous administration but instead they lied and distracted everyone to the wrong war in Iraq. The Bush/ Cheney liars have caused so much pain and destruction for the US and the world. How can anyone trust them or their cronies?

    October 25, 2009 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  4. Dean

    Now if I recall the British the French and the Germans as well as our government's intelligence all thought Iraq has WMD's and in fact he did have the chemical WMD since he used it on his own people. Now I wonder what most of you would have done if you had been the president having that intelligence and knowing that he has ignored every security cancel mandate. I for one would not have ignored it and put my country at risk of a catastrophe 1000 time worse than 9/11, but of course I read where most of you would take that chance.
    Now, if you recall, though i read a lot of you don't want to recall, Bush came in office in a down recession economy.
    If I also recall the Taliban had been in control of Afganistan and our troops pushed them out unless i was dreaming all that.
    Yes, let's not let facts get in our way.

    October 25, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
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