Jeb Bush Urges Greater Effort Against ISIS: 'Make It A War'

“Are we fighting a war or is this a law enforcement exercise?"
Darren McCollester via Getty Images

WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush urged President Barack Obama to take a more aggressive approach in the fight against the Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the deadly Paris terror attacks earlier this month.

“Are we fighting a war or is this a law enforcement exercise? Make it a war," Bush said during a Tuesday campaign stop in South Carolina.

Last week, the former governor of Florida called for sending U.S. ground combat troops to destroy the terrorist group, becoming the latest Bush to advocate for a military campaign in the Middle East. But, he added, the bulk of the ground troops dedicated to fighting ISIS ought to be comprised of local forces.

On Tuesday, Bush reiterated that the ultimate number of U.S. troops required to complete the mission ought to be dictated by military officials. He also suggested the effort would require an extended U.S. presence in the region.

"Ultimately, the goal is not just taking out ISIS, but creating stability, so when we leave, we don't have to come back again," Bush said.

In a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande at the White House earlier Tuesday, Obama promised to intensify the campaign against the militants.

"We cannot succumb to fear," the president said. "Make no mistake, we will win, and groups like ISIL will lose."

U.S. fighter jets and gunships on Monday targeted 280 ISIS oil tankers in Syria, said to be a major source of the group's financial lifeline. That action followed strikes on 116 oil tankers last week.

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