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Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Friday the U.S. is already at war with ISIS, and America needs a serious leader and a serious plan to defeat the Islamic State terrorist group.
"They've declared war on us," Bush told CNBC's "Squawk Box, " seven days after the terror attacks in Paris. "This is a war against Western civilization, against freedom. Our vulnerability is our freedom."
"The first thing I would do if I were commander-in-chief would be to go to the military and say 'give me options ... to destroy ISIS'" without conditions, he said. "The problem now is there are so many conditions placed, it's a pathetic effort."
"It's really incremental and designed to run out the clock" on the presidency of Barack Obama, the former Florida governor said.
Earlier this week, Bush said he supported a Republican bill to suspend a program to admit Syrian refugees into the United States and the governors who want to bar the migrants from resettling in their states.
In the South Carolina campaign swing, he also said he'd back refugees coming into the U.S. "who are clearly not going to be terrorists, or Christians. "
On Friday, he did not address the comments directly, but repeated a theme he's touched on in recent days.
"There are no Christian terrorists wandering around the world trying to take out peace-loving Muslims," he told CNBC. "This does not mean we should be disrespectful of Muslims in our country."
In a national security address on Wednesday, Bush called for the use of "overwhelming force" against ISIS. He said the U.S. and its NATO allies and Arab partners need to increase ground forces in the region.
"While air power is essential, it alone cannot bring the results we seek," Bush said in the speech. He advocated a plan that would include a no-fly zone and safe zones in Syria.
"The refugee problem is not going to go away until we create safe haven in the country," Bush said Friday.
The multifaction civil war in Syria has displaced millions of people, many into refugee camps. Bush said the camps will be the "breeding grounds for the next generation" of jihadists.
In solving the crisis in Syria, Bush said, "I don't think we can do this in concert with Russia."
Russia is currently engaging in airstrikes against ISIS and other rebel groups seeking to overthrow Moscow ally Bashar Assad.
"Ultimately there needs to be a political solution where Bashar Assad leaves," Bush said.