The U.S. needs to organize an international coalition, including Muslim nations, to combat the "metastasized cancer" inside of Islam, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn told CNBC on Friday, in the wake of the deadly attack in Nice, France.
Flynn, formerly director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama, had been on presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's list for a running-mate.
"I was very hopeful that President Obama, when he first came into office, ... we would see a lot of change," Flynn said on "Squawk Box." But the ex-military intelligence chief said he became disillusioned by the administration's refusal to recognize radical Islam as the enemy.
"We have to get off this nonsense of what it is we are facing. And this is a very radical form, and I call it a sort of metastasized cancer, inside of the Islamic ideology," Flynn said. "We definitely have to challenge the doctrine, this evil doctrine. We have to challenge it. We challenged communism. We challenged fascism. We challenged Nazism."
At least 84 people, including two Americans, watching Bastille Day fireworks in the French Riviera city of Nice were killed Thursday night, when a suspect drove a truck at high speed into the crowd. Police shot and killed the driver, who reports say was a French national of Tunisian descent.
French President Francois Hollande condemned the massacre, saying: "There's no denying the terrorist nature of this attack." He also said, "France as a whole is under threat of Islamic terrorism."
Flynn said the kind of attack in France is about an enemy who has "declared war on our way of life."
"Not just the U.S. way of life," he continued, "it's the way of life that we in the West accept and certain nation states, ... not tyrannical nation states, accept as internationally acceptable morals, behaviors, and principles."
France has been under a state of emergency since the Paris terror attacks in November. The state of emergency had been due to be lifted on July 26. But those plans have been put on hold.
"This vicious enemy that we are facing will continue to do this until we organize ourselves internationally, instead of having this very incoherent international strategic plan," Flynn said. "The United States of America is really the only country in the world that can organize the rest of the world."
Flynn called the current international strategy of pushing back terrorists in Iraq and Syria narrowly focused.
"Ours is this little narrow 'war' that we are fighting — we're not even sure what to call it — inside of a small contained area in Iraq and Syria," he argued. "They counterattack globally. … Theirs is a global war."
"We have leaders in the Muslim world that ... are scared. They are afraid of what is happening," Flynn said. "But they need our leadership to be able to help them stand up and be counted. And right now, we are not doing that."
Following what he called the "horrible attack" in France, Trump postponed his planned announcement Friday morning of his vice presidential running-mate pick.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is widely expected to be Trump's choice, though Trump told Fox News on Thursday night he had not made "a final, final decision" yet.