Jeb Bush Calls For Ground Troops In Fight Against ISIS: ‘It Is The War Of Our Time’

Jeb Bush on Wednesday called for ground troops in the fight against ISIS, calling the struggle against fundamentalist Islamic terrorism “the war of our time,” MSN is reporting.

Speaking to a room full of cadets at South Carolina’s Citadel military college, Bush told the future young military leaders that some of them may themselves be caught up in the upcoming conflict.

“Some of you in this room will serve on the front lines of that fight against ISIS and against radical Islamic terrorism. You will sign up for an uncertain fate, on foreign fields of battle, because your country, and the cause of freedom, are calling you.”

Bush declined to provide specific numbers of ground troops he thinks would be needed in the fight against ISIS, instead saying that decisions like that should be left to military leaders. Since last week’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, which killed over 120 people and injured over 300, and for which the terrorist organization ISIS claimed responsibility, the current U.S. strategy against ISIS has been called into question, particularly by conservative leaders. To date, the U.S. involvement in the fight against ISIS has mostly consisted of targeted air strikes, according to CBS News. For Jeb Bush, the U.S. needs to provide more support to the region except air strikes and patrolling the skies in the region.

“Militarily, we need to intensify our efforts in the air — and on the ground. While air power is essential, it cannot bring the results we seek. The United States — in conjunction with our NATO allies and more Arab partners — will need to increase our presence on the ground.”

Bush’s call for ground troops against ISIS marks the most specific call yet for increased military intervention in the region from the current crop of Republican 2016 presidential candidates. A recent CBS News report outlines the candidates’ views on how the U.S. should respond to ISIS.

Donald Trump, in his typically direct and bombastic fashion, left no room for doubt about his intentions.

“Blast the hell out of them… I’d blow up the pipes, I’d blow up the refineries. Every single inch — there would be nothing left.”

Ben Carson, meanwhile, has been comparatively vague, saying only that, to eliminate ISIS, he would “use every resource available.” Marco Rubio, Lindsay Graham, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and other Republican candidates have all discussed options that range from staying the current course to “waging a war” against ISIS (without specifically explaining how that would be done).

The specifics of Bush’s plan include calls for more naval vessels in the region, modernized aircraft (so the pilots aren’t flying aircraft “that are older than they are”), and more defensive missiles. He also wants to increase the size of the Army by 40,000 soldiers.

At home, Bush would like to see the Patriot Act’s metadata program restored. The controversial program, which was revealed by NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden and allowed the NSA to collect so-called “metadata” on U.S. citizens’ phone calls without warrants, was stripped of some of its power earlier this year. Jeb Bush believes that restoring the program would help in the fight against ISIS.

“If there was ever a time for such a program, it’s now, and yet too few in Congress were courageous enough to defend this program when it mattered most.”

Do you agree with Jeb Bush that more U.S. ground troops are needed in the fight against ISIS? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]