One hour before the final presidential debate of the 2008 campaign, fourteen members of IVAW marched in formation to Hofstra University to present questions for the candidates concerning the occupation of Iraq and the treatment of returning veterans. IVAW had requested permission from debate moderator Bob Schieffer to ask their questions during the debate but got no response.
The contingent of veterans in dress uniforms and combat uniforms attempted to enter the building where the debate was to be held in order to ask their questions but were turned back by police. The ten IVAW members at the front of the formation were immediately arrested, and others were pushed back into the crowd by police on horseback. Several members were injured, including former Army Sergeant Nick Morgan who suffered a broken cheekbone when he was trampled by police horses before being arrested.
"Neither of the candidates has shown real support for service members and veterans. We came here to try and have serious questions answered, questions that we as veterans of the Iraq war have a right to ask, but instead we were arrested. We will continue to ask these questions no matter who is elected. We believe that the time has come to end this war and bring our troops home" said Jason Lemieux, a former Sergeant in the US Marine Corps who served three tours in Iraq, and member of IVAW.
The questions that are important to Iraq Veterans Against the War
The invasion and occupation of Iraq is illegal based on criteria in our own Constitution, as well as international law and the Geneva Conventions. Sen. Obama, is it not the right of service members to refuse deployment and participation in the occupation of Iraq? As President, will you support the rights of service men and women who refuse participation in this criminal war?
Sen. McCain, we currently have thousands of veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of them with severe injuries. The rate of suicide attempts among veterans is at the shocking rate of up to 1,000 per month. Sen. McCain, you have consistently voted against an increase in VA funding and other legislation that would take care of veterans. As President, will you be prepared to fully fund and staff the VA system and how will you address your poor voting record on veteran’s issues?
IVAW needs your support today
The ten IVAW members who were arrested will be arraigned on November 10, and we will be building support for them in the coming weeks. Former Army sergeant Nick Morgan is currently seeking additional medical help and recovering from his head injury. Please consider making a donation today to IVAW’s legal defense fund, or specifically for Nick Morgan’s medical bills. Please make a donation to IVAW today.
Former Sergeant, Army National Guard
Iraq Veterans Against the War