Presidential candidate Jeb Bush has said the United States should “declare war” against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants by “harnessing all the power” the U.S. can bear both politically and militarily.
Speaking in an interview on NBC New’s Meet the Press, Bush told the show’s host Chuck Todd: “You destroy ISIS. And then you build a coalition to replace this radical Islamic terrorist threat to our country and to Europe and to the region with something that is more peace loving.
“We have to be engaged in this. This is not something you can contain. Each day that ISIS exists, it gains new energy and more recruits around the world.”
The show’s host opened the interview with the former U.S. Governor by suggesting that in the aftermath of Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris, the “next president will face no tougher task than facing down ISIS and Islamic extremism in general.”
He was speaking just days after the deadly attacks in Paris that have so far claimed the lives of more than 130 people.
The militant group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which saw more than 80 people gunned down at a concert, while others were killed as they ate at restaurants and cafes in the French capital.
Bush condemned Friday’s attacks, saying they were a “threat to Western civilization.”
Asked if the U.S. should make a choice between overthrowing the Assad regime or defeating ISIS, he replied: “I think we need to do both. You don’t see ISIS and Assad fighting each other. What they, the fight is with the remnants of the Syrian Free Army, we need to build that force up, which is not what's happening.
“This is viewed as a law enforcement exercise by the Obama administration. We should declare war and harness all of the power that the United States can bring to bear both diplomatic and military, of course, to be able to take out ISIS.”
He said that meanwhile President Barack Obama needed to declare a no-fly zone over Syria.
And added that the Peshmerga forces in Iraq needed to be “directly armed,” as well as working with Sunni tribal leaders, ‘embed with the Iraqi military,” and create safe zones in Syria.
Bush said that a failure to fight ISIS now would lead to a situation whereby 30,000 to 40,000 battle-tested soldiers, organized to destroy the Western way of life would fight.
He added: “We have to be in this fight. There is no other option. And this threat can be contained, but more importantly, it’ll never die unless it's destroyed.”
On the refugee issue, Bush said that the majority of refugees “need to be safely kept in Syria. Which means the safe zones need to be serious.”
He said there was a need to help with the refugees, especially the Christians who he said were being beheaded.
He adde: “They’re being executed by both sides. And I think we have a responsibility to help.”
Bush said this ultimately mean there was a need for ‘boots on the ground.’
But he warned that any such action should be designed by U.S. military “without their hands tied.”