Sen. John McCain, R.-Ariz., faced criticism from his constituents at a town hall meeting in Arizona on Thursday for his support for military intervention in Syria and support for the anti-government rebels, who have a strong element of al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups in their presence.
One man accused McCain and “the Executive Branch of government, along with the Judicial and Legislative,” of turning their backs on the will of the American people, as well as stating McCain's “actions against this country are treasonous.”
“All of you, against the will of the American people, have aided and abetted the enemy,” the man told McCain. “You and the rest of Congress, including the President of the United States, have went against the will of your people in Syria, regardless of your position and vote, whether it's a yes or no, is still a political smokescreen.”
The constituent further accused McCain of lying about the accusations that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was behind the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack, stating that it was the U.S. government and the Syrian rebels who were responsible.
“The American people know that it was our government that is most likely responsible,” he said. “There is strong evidence, including video, that these attacks were carried out by al-Qaeda, and you advocate starting a war, maybe even a world war, by taking the same attack and blaming it on Assad.”
Another woman in the crowd, who immigrated to the United States from Syria, stated that she's been a loyal supporter of McCain's but criticized the Senator's backing of military strikes.
The woman claimed that she had a cousin in Syria who was killed by the rebel forces just over a week before Thursday's town hall meeting.
“Personally speaking,” she said, “I have a cousin, who is 18-years-old, just was killed 10 days ago, by the so-called rebels and al-Qaeda, and they're not Syrian, they're coming from all over the world to fight this.
“We cannot afford to do this, we cannot afford to turn Syria into another Iraq,” she continued to applause from the audience.
There were other presentations of opposition to Syrian intervention on display from the audience at the meeting.
“We didn't send you to make war for us. We sent you to stop the war,” one man said.
Another man used a bag of marshmallows as a metaphor for members of Congress going soft on representing the will of their voters.
“This is what I think of Congress. They are a bunch of marshmallows. That's what they are. That's what they've become. Why are you not listening to the people and staying out of Syria? It's not our fight.”
The opposition to striking Syria that was on display Thursday is representative of the feeling across the country, according to polls and other members of Congress.
Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., told National Review earlier this week that out of 500 calls to his office on the Syrian issue, 498 have been opposed to strikes.
Similarly, Rep. Thomas Massie, R.-Ky., tweeted on Thursday, “In two short days, I've received 126 calls opposing military engagement in #Syria and only one call in favor.”
“Ninety nine percent of constituents who have contacted me oppose U.S. intervention in #Syria,” Massie wrote in another tweet.
A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll revealed that only nine percent of Americans favor intervening in Syria.