Former Florida governor Jeb Bush said Sunday the United States should declare war on ISIS and Sen. Marco Rubio said the U.S. should activate NATO, suggesting the two chief GOP Establishment candidates for president would massively increase American commitments in Iraq and Syria.
Their comments follow the terror attacks in Paris on Friday night that killed more than 130 people and wounded hundreds more. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the violence.
“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,” Bush said on “Meet the Press.” “We have the capabilities of doing this, we just haven’t shown the will.”
Rubio, in a separate appearance on the same program, said NATO should invoke Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, the provision that declares that an attack on one member is an attack on all.
“I would ask our allies to invoke Article 5,” Rubio said. “This is clearly an act of war, an attack on one of our NATO allies, and we should invoke Article 5 of the NATO agreement and bring everyone together to put together a coalition to confront this challenge.”
Rubio also said the fight against ISIS was “a clash of civilizations.” But he appeared to contradict his tough talk by suggesting the U.S. should limit its commitment on the ground.
“Key to the success of this is we’re going to have to conduct an increased number of special operations attacks, targeting ISIS leadership,” he said. “Long-term, however, in the big picture, the only way to defeat ISIS militarily is for Sunnis themselves to be the bulkhead of the fight. But it will require us to do more in the short stage.”
Bush’s plan for engagement sounded more robust.
“[President Obama should] declare a no-fly zone over Syria. Directly arm the Peshmerga forces in Iraq. Re-engage with the Sunni tribal leaders. Embed with the Iraqi military. Be able to create safe zones in Syria. Garner the support of our European allies and the tradition Arab states. Lead. That’s what I want him to do. I want him to lead. He has the capability of doing this. We have the resources to do this.”
Bush accused Obama of pussyfooting around while the survival of Western civilization was at stake.
“The policy of containment isn’t going to work,” he said. “And it’s a policy of incremental, just kind of running out the clock so the next president has to deal with this. Should I be the president of the United States, I promise you that I will.”
Bush sought to draw a contrast with Hillary Clinton who said Saturday the battle against ISIS “cannot be an American fight.”
“It is our fight,” Bush said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “This is a war and we should act accordingly.”
Significantly, he also said the United States should still take Syrian refugees, but that Christians should be the priority.
“The great majority of refugees need to be safely kept in Syria, which means the safe zones need to be serious,” he said. “I do think we have a responsibility to help with refugees after proper screening. And I think our focus out to be on the Christians who have no place in Syria anymore. They’re being beheaded, they’re being executed by both sides.”
The White House suggested President Obama is not backing off his plans to admit tens of thousands of additional Syrian refugees over the next two years.
“We’re still planning on taking in Syrian refugees,” White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We had very robust vetting procedures for those refugees.”
This article also appears on PoliZette.