Former President George W. Bush defended his administration's handling of the war in Afghanistan on Sunday, telling CNN that some NATO allies who contributed troops to the conflict "turned out not to be willing to fight."
In an interview with CNN's Candy Crowley, Bush strongly refuted criticism that his administration took its "eye off the ball" in Afghanistan when he ordered troops to invade Iraq. He said he ordered American forces to overthrow Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein with the assumption that allied forces would help make up the difference in Afghanistan.
"What happened in Afghanistan was that our NATO allies, some of them, turned out not to be willing to fight," Bush said. "Therefore, our assumption
that we had ample troops – U.S. and NATO troops – turned out to be a
not-true assumption. So we adjusted."
The former president didn't name any countries specifically from NATO, which includes 28 nations in Europe and North America. Some 785 military personnel from NATO countries besides the United States have been killed in Afghanistan since hostilities began in October 2001, with the United Kingdom, Canada and France incurring the most fatalities.