Former Gov. Jeb Bush expressed doubt Sunday over the ability of Republican front-runners Ben Carson and Donald Trump to tackle the ISIS threat as he said, “We should declare war and harness all of the power the U.S. can bring to bear,” during an interview on "Meet the Press."
“The words that I hear them speaking give me some concern,” Bush said of his Republican rivals.
The former Florida governor said ISIS cannot be contained and must be defeated. He also criticized Hillary Clinton for suggesting action against ISIS “cannot be an American fight” during Saturday’s Democratic debate.
“I’m more concerned about Hillary Clinton thinking the United States doesn’t have a leadership role in this, that’s my big concern if you listen to the Democrats debating,” he said.
Bush said the United States has the capability to take out ISIS but hasn’t shown the will to do so with a general lack of strategy to deal with both ISIS and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
That strategy should include a no-fly zone over Syria, arming the Peshmerga forces in Iraq, reengaging with tribal leaders, embedding with the Iraqi military and garnering support of European allies, according to Bush who said in the most basic terms the strategy is leadership.
In confronting the refugee crisis created by the unrest in Syria, Bush said the majority of refugees should be kept in safe zones in the region, but the American role can focus on Christian refuges who he said no longer have a place in Syria.
“I think we have a responsibility to help, but ultimately the best way to deal with refugees is to have a strategy to take out ISIS and Assad and act on that strategy immediately,” he said.
Bush regularly points to the proposals he rolled out earlier this year during a speech at the Reagan Library, but also said plans should be designed by military leaders and any action cannot be done alone.
“We have to be in this fight, there is no other option,” he said. “The policy of containment isn’t gonna work and it is a policy of incremental, just kind of running out the clock so the next President has to deal with this.”
The Republican presidential candidate maintains that the issue of ISIS is yet another opportunity for voters to consider whom they want sitting behind the “big desk” in the oval office directing American policy – a consideration he feels will tilt in his favor.
“If you listen to some of the candidates speaking about Syria for example, they’re all over the map,” he said. “I laid out a strategy two months ago.”