CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush pledged to rebuild the country's military if he is elected in 2016.
Bush made the promise to hundreds of Citadel cadets during a campaign stop Wednesday.
The former Florida governor addressed foreign policy to an audience of the Citadel Republican Society and said if president, he will ask Congress for an increase of 40,000 more active duty soldiers. He said what happened on the streets of Paris last Friday shouldn't have been a surprise given the recent attacks in Lebanon and the downing of a Russian plane.
"This brutal savagery is a reminder of what's at stake in this election. We are choosing the leader of the free world," Bush said. "And if these attacks remind us of anything, it's that we're living in serious times that require serious leadership…the free world needs to act."
Bush told crowds that radical Islamic terrorists have declared war on the Western world.
"Their aim is our total destruction," Bush said. "We can't withdraw from this threat or negotiate with it. We have but one choice, to defeat it."
Bush said the United States should not delay to lead a global coalition to take out ISIS with force.
"I have a plan for a 21st century military to project that force when necessary and around the globe," Bush said. "To prevail in conflict or better still, to deter conflict, we must have the end strength, the readiness and the equipment to meet any challenge from any adversary. We don't need to be the world's policeman but we must restore our place as the leader and indispensable power of the free world."