WASHINGTON -- Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) thinks the House of Representatives should vote down a Syria war resolution on 9/11, in support of the victims of the terrorist attacks 12 years ago.
"If there's a vote in the House, it should be held on 9/11 so that the House can honor the victims of 9/11 by defeating the resolution and demonstrating we will not help Al Qaeda," Culberson told reporters Thursday after attending a classified briefing on the Syrian civil war and the alleged use of chemical weapons by President Bashar Assad.
Culberson said he had no doubt that the Assad regime was behind the chemical attack that killed more than 1,400 people, but he said that didn't change his mind or the minds of voters about getting more engaged in Syria.
"In addition to my core philosophical belief that we have no strategic interest at stake -- this is not America's fight -- my constituents, 96 percent of them, have said 'No, stay out,' and I'm going to fulfill my responsibilities to my job description and vote no," Culberson said.
He argued that the Syrian civil war involves actors on each side who are enemies of the U.S., including opposition groups with ties to Al Qaeda. Voting down a resolution to use U.S. force in that fight on the anniversary of Al Qaeda's attacks on America, he said, would add "clarity" to the debate.
"How can it be any clearer? That's the perfect day to do it," Culberson said. "They need to defeat it to honor the victims of 9/11. We will not give aid and comfort to the psychopaths that carried out the 9/11 attack."
As he was speaking, he received an email from his staff saying House leaders expected the Senate to hold its first full vote on the matter on the 12-year anniversary.
That is possible under the schedule Senate officials have released. It calls for introducing the resolution -- which passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday -- to the full Senate on Friday. Under Senate rules, the first vote (which merely would be to end debate on a motion to proceed to the measure) would come on 9/11, unless leaders can secure the consent of all senators to hold the vote sooner.
Culberson is the latest among a growing number of lawmakers to speak out forcefully against launching an attack on the Assad regime, adding to a growing sense that the resolution could fail, even though House leaders on both sides of the aisle back President Barack Obama's call for intervention.
Both Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have declared they will not "whip" their members to vote their way, and Culberson said Boehner was standing by that position.
"This is a matter of conscience," he said.
Many supporters of intervention in Syria, such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), admit there are Al Qaeda-linked groups battling Assad, but they argue the vast majority of the rebels who would benefit from U.S. action are moderates.
Ironically, Culberson voted against the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in 2010, which provided medical treatment to 9/11 first responders who were diagnosed with cancer and other illnesses.
Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.
Also on HuffPost:
"All of this is horrific. All of us as human beings feel terrible when we see the extraordinary loss of life that [has] occurred in Syria," Rice said. "With chemical weapons, they can kill with indiscriminate abandon. People who are innocent are employed in conflict. It is of a greater magnitude because if terrorists get ahold of those weapons, if other dictators get ahold of those weapons, they can be used on a massive scale."
"We have enemies around the world that need to understand that we're not going to tolerate this type of behavior."
"I am against delaying reaction to what is a massacre of a thousand people," McCain said. "You saw these pictures of these dead children. Come on. This is horrific. We can't stand by and watch this happen."
"This is what Assad did to his own people," Kerry said. If the U.S. allowed "a thug and a murderer like Bashar al-Assad" to get away with gassing his own people, he added, "there will be no end to the test of our resolve and the dangers that will flow from those others who believe that they can do as they will."
"I think the Islamic rebels winning is a bad idea for the Christians, and all of a sudden we'll have another Islamic state where Christians are persecuted," Paul said.
"As I said before, if we are dangerously uncertain of the outcome and are led into war by a Commander-in-chief who can’t recognize that this conflict is pitting Islamic extremists against an authoritarian regime with both sides shouting 'Allah Akbar' at each other, then let Allah sort it out," Palin continued.
“We should be focused on defending the United States of America. That’s why young men and women sign up to join the military, not to, as you know, serve as Al Qaeda’s air force.”
"This attack is an assault on human dignity. It also presents a serious danger to our national security. It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. It endangers our friends and our partners along Syria’s borders, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons, or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm. "In a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted."
"Assad has made a calculation now ... that he can use chemical weapons, or he believes he can use chemical weapons without consequence," Menendez said. "And in doing so there is a global message that in fact other state actors and other non-state actors may believe they can do so as well."