Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) encountered a moment of heartfelt opposition to an American attack on Syria during a town hall Thursday, as a constituent who said she could trace her family history to the pre-Christian days of the region laid into him rejecting the idea of another military engagement in the Middle East.
“We cannot afford to turn Syria into another Iraq, or Afghanistan,” the woman, who identified herself as “Jumana,” told McCain as the crowd applauded. “I beg you. My family is there. There’s so many good Syrians. The majority of the Syrian people want to save their country. And you need to also listen to the majority of the American people, who do not want you to go there.”
The woman also told McCain that her 18-year-old cousin who lived in the country was recently killed by forces opposing President Bashar al-Assad.
“To listen to you say there is no good option in Syria, I refuse to believe that,” the woman told McCain. “The good option right now is to take Saudi Arabia and Iran and force them to stop supporting the two sides in Syria. And you could do it. You can do it by diplomacy, not bombs, Senator McCain. We cannot afford to shed more Syrian blood.”
In response, McCain cited his own trips to the region as proof of his familiarity with the conflict.
“I’ve met them, I know them, and I know who they are,” McCain said of the opposition forces. “And I know Syria well enough to know that it is a moderate nation. It is not a nation that will embrace these foreign fighters. But to say that Bashar Assad is anything but a merciless butcher, then we have a strong disagreement.”
Watch “Juwana’s” impassioned plea to McCain, posted on YouTube by user “amped in” on Thursday, below.