On the viral YouTube video beat, check out this showdown between a former Marine grunt and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
In the video, Bryan Bates, who identified himself as a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who also worked as a private security contractor with the Army Corps of Engineers, stands up at a Sept. 5 town hall in Tucson, Ariz., to ask McCain a tough question about military involvement in Syria.
” I am no stranger to Al Qaeda, their affiliates and the people of the region near Syria. I am here to tell you that I completely oppose any military intervention in Syria,” he says in the grainy video. “My reason, I do not believe that we can differentiate between who the good guys and who the bad guys are. I have lived amongst the population in that region. I have sat and ate dinner and been in many houses over there and I can tell you from experience that although there are many good people in that region; the cultural, religious and ideological differences from us Americans are too great for us to truly understand what is going on in Syria. We need to stay out of there. ”
Then he gets more personal, addressing McCain.
“You sir, do not represent me or my people and I am flabbergasted that a man of honor who has sacrificed so much for his country does not understand the danger of aiding the Syrian rebels.”
The audience cheers.
McCain first thanks Bates for his service. Then he adds that one of his sons was a former Marine lance corporal and the other is a Navy pilot.
” They don’t share your views,” McCain, himself a former Navy officer and Vietnam prisoner of war, says. “When you think you speak for men and women in the military, I think you speak for yourself. Because I talk with men and women in the military all the time.”
His response gets drowned out as Bates turns on his heel and walks out and the audience cheers him again.
The video so far has over 63,000 Youtube views and growing.
Marine Corps Times caught up with Bates, who is 28 and lives in Tucson, Ariz.
He served as an infantryman from 2004 to 2008 and left the service as a Pfc., having gotten into trouble a few times, he said. One of his hobbies is photojournalism, and he said he has attended a number of local Syria protests as a photographer.
Since the video was posted, Bates said he has taken some heat for his brusque treatment of McCain.
“I’ve had a couple of people kind of mad at me because I disrespected the senator and how dare I do that because he’s a war hero,” he said. “I believe that the second he became a public servant and ran for office, we can’t be nice to him just because he is a war hero.”