WASHINGTON — The Senate will hold it’s first vote on U.S. military intervention in Syria on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday.
Reid announced the vote on a motion to proceed on the resolution for limited military action in a floor speech Monday, saying that until then, the Senate would hold a “full and open debate” on the topic. The date of the vote coincides with the 12th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks.
“The Senate will give this matter the serious attention that it deserves,” Reid said.
Reid, in his opening speech, made an impassioned plea for intervention in Syria, urging Senators to “remember our history” and World War II, when Reid says America stood on the sidelines for too long.
“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality,” Reid said, quoting Dante’s Divine Comedy, a quote that appears on the wall of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
“I’ve thought about those words … very often lately, as I’ve considered whether America should take action to prevent further atrocities,” Reid said on the subject of Syria, saying it was his “firm conviction” that America needed to intervene.
Too many people, he said, were “neutral” in World War II.
“Now, we’re faced with that choice again,” Reid said. “We should all remember our history.”
Reid argued that the evidence of Assad’s use of “toxic and unsavory stockpiles” of chemical weapon was “well-documented” and “a certain violation of the overwhelming international consensus forged against these weapons over 10 decades ago,” as well as “a clear violation of human decency.”
“I believe America must set the example for the rest of the world,” Reid said. “If America must once again lead, as we have before, and we will again, to set an example for the world, so be it. That’s America. That’s who we are as a country. That’s what we do as a country. That’s where we stand as a country … that is the American tradition of which I am proud, and a tradition which I have faith will continue.”
Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who usually speaks on the Senate floor following the Reid’s opening statements, did not speak on Monday.