Presidential hopeful and former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush addressed a standing-room-only crowd at the Citadel on Wednesday as part of a series of presidential nominees speaking to the Citadel Republican Society. Bush framed his speech within the tragedy of the recent attacks in Paris, addressing his plan to combat global terrorism if elected President.
The basic tenant of Bush’s plan is clear: more military funding and more military power. Strengthening the U.S. Military, he argued, will lead not to war, but to peace. “The greater our superiority in military power, the less likely it is that we will have to assert that power or be provoked into using it,” he said.
To that end, he has outlined a comprehensive plan for bolstering military power, including adding 40,000 active duty soldiers to the Army, investing more resources in intelligence agencies and cyber security and updating planes and other weaponry. He specifically mentioned updating aircrafts, noting that the B-52, the “backbone of our bomber fleet,” was first flown during Harry Truman’s administration.
Bush criticized the Obama administration for leading an “8 year draw down of military power and careless chronic neglect” and enacting “arbitrary” cuts to military funding, countering that under his leadership, the United States will restore its “place as the leader and indispensable power of the free world.”
Bush suggested that the United States use this power to lead a global coalition against ISIS. “We are at war with radical Islamic terrorism,” he said. “It is the war of our time and a struggle that will determine the fate of the free world.”
His plan relies of using “overwhelming force” to take out ISIS. He specifically mentioned enforcing a no fly zone over Syria, arming Kurdish forces, increasing ground presence and ending Assad’s regime.
However, he assured the audience that he will not make the types of military decisions that infamously characterized his brother’s regime, saying, “Any use of force will be purposeful, aimed only toward victory, and always with the heavy thumb of American power, resources and resolves on the scales of war.”
Bush is the fourth presidential nominee to speak to the Citadel Republican Society this year. Previous speakers included Scott Walker, Rick Perry and John Kasich. The Society does not endorse candidates.