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Admiral Mullen praises Afghanistan skeptic Rahm Emanuel

Admiral Mullen and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel opposed each other on the way forward in Afghanistan, but Mullen said Emanuel 'contributed significantly.'

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen addresses reporter questions about White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel Wednesday in Washington.

Michael Bonfigli/Special to The Christian Science Monitor

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During the intense battles in the White House situation room in 2009 over the way forward in Afghanistan, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael Mullen and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel found themselves on different sides of the debate.

But at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast with reporters on Wednesday, Admiral Mullen was cautiously complimentary about his policy opponent, describing Mr. Emanuel as “somebody who I think has contributed significantly.” Emanuel is expected to announce shortly that he is leaving the White House to run for Mayor of Chicago.

In Bob Woodward’s new book “Obama’s Wars,” there are several scenes where the divide between Admiral Mullen and Emanuel is on display. At one point, President Obama is quoted as saying “nothing would make Rahm happier than if I said no to the 30,000” additional troops for Afghanistan. Mullen originally favored sending 40,000 additional troops, feeling the US military effort in the country was under-resourced.

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