Fig. to stop being calm or civil and show an intention of winning a dispute by any means. (As if boxers were to remove their gloves in order to inflict more damage).
My observation is that "bombing" people does not achieve anything positive, or at least not very much that is positive. Iraq is falling apart, and Syria already has fallen apart, flooding Europe with refugees who have no other place to go, in view of the destruction that bombing has wreaked upon their cities (see below).
Apparently, the General wants us to "take the gloves off...." and then punch ourselves in the face. Not to mention what we would be doing to those upon whom our bombs would fall.
How about, instead, that we just thank our lucky stars that Petraeus was forced to resign?
(2) - http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35488073