Washington: Leading Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush on Wednesday vowed to pursue an aggressive strategy against Islamic State militants, if elected, as he slammed US President Barack Obama for failing to prevent exremists from gaining ground.
"Despite elaborate efforts by the administration to avoid even calling it by name, one of the very gravest threats we face today comes from radical Islamic terrorists. The terrorists are possessed by the same violent ideology that gave us 9/11, and they are on the offensive and gaining ground," Bush said.
"It is not true, and was wishful thinking by the Administration to claim, that the tide of war is receding," Bush said in excerpts of his speech released by his campaign ahead of his major foreign policy speech in California Tuesday night.
'The reality is that radical Islam has been spreading like a pandemic ? across the Middle East, throughout Africa and to parts of Asia, even in the nations of the West, finding recruits in Europe and the United States," he said.
"ISIS, a genocidal terrorist army, controls large parts of two countries, and is gaining influence in others. And yet well into this nightmare, President Obama's administration, by its own admission, has no strategy to stop it," he alleged.
In place of one, they are pursuing a minimalist approach of incremental escalation, said the Republican presidential candidate.
Bush said the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq was premature.
"That premature withdrawal was the fatal error, creating the void that ISIS moved in to fill ? and that Iran has exploited to the full as well. ISIS grew while the United States disengaged from the Middle East and ignored the threat," he said.
He said that the threat of global jihad, and of the Islamic State in particular, requires all the strength, unity, and confidence that only American leadership can provide.
"Radical Islam is a threat we are entirely capable of overcoming, and I will be unyielding in that cause should I be elected President of the United States," he said.
"We should pursue the clear and unequivocal objective of throwing back the barbarians of ISIS, and helping the millions in the region who want to live in peace. Instead of simply reacting to each new move the terrorists choose to make, we will use every advantage we have ? to take the offensive, to keep it, and to prevail," he added.
"In all of this, the United States must engage with friends and allies, and lead again in that vital region," Bush said.