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article imageIraq War Vets Plan to Crash Presidential Debate, Demand Face Time to Ask Question

By Stephen Dohnberg     Oct 10, 2008 in Politics
Members and supporters of Iraqi Vets Against the War (IVAW) plan to crash the final Presidential debate on Oct. 15 at Hofstra University if the IVAW representatives are not permitted to address a question to both Sen.John McCain and Sen.Barack Obama.
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y – Members and supporters of Iraqi Vets Against the War (IVAW) are planning to crash the third and final Presidential debate on Oct. 15 at Hofstra University if they are not permitted to address a question to both Sen.John McCain and Sen.Barack Obama.
Debate moderator, Bob Schieffer (CBS), has been sent a letter from event coordinator and IVAW member Matthias Chiroux. “I'm writing you today as a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War to make clear the details of a demonstration we will be leading Oct. 15th at Hofstra University prior to the final presidential debate and what our demands are and will be.”
The demands are simple. Chiroux continues, “We in IVAW demand that two of our members, myself and Kristofer Goldsmith, be permitted entry to the debate and be allowed to ask each candidate one question”
If the requests are not granted, and the IVAW fail to hear from campaign and debate coordinators by 7 pm EDT, IVAW members say that they are “are willing to risk arrest by entering the debate to have their voices heard by the candidates”
Long Island IVAW member Kris Goldsmith expressed dissatisfaction with the candidates failure to address the current conflicts substantially in an official press release, stating "I watched the first debate the other night, the topic was supposed to be 'foreign policy', yet it took 34 minutes before the words 'Iraq' or 'Veteran' left either candidates' mouths," and Goldsmith went on to stress, "I'm not convinced that either Obama or McCain care about what is most important to today's military and veterans. IVAW is committed to changing that."
In a press release, available on Facebook.com. The IVAW call for supporters to begin meeting at 2:30 pm EDT Hempstead Long Island Railroad station. “At five, we will 'walk' to Hempstead University for further demonstrations.”
Chiroux, in his letter to Schieffer, asks “What yourself and the candidates must decide now, Mr. Schieffer, is what the legacy of this debate will be. Will this be remembered as an event where both sides of the isle and the media came together to hear from our nation's heroes, even if only for five minutes, or will the words and promises of both candidates be forever shrouded in the image of a host of uniformed veterans and their supporters going to jail because these campaigns cared too little to hear from them?”
The IVAW does stress that their intention is the event will remain peaceful and nonviolent, but it does go on to stress “we will NOT, I repeat, we will NOT back down, be intimidated or moved in any way shape or form until our demands are met or we are arrested.”
As of this writing, no known response has been received from either the Democratic of Republican Party, Bob Schiefer, or any representatives of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD).
IVAW met with success during a similar demonstration during the Democratic National Convention in Denver Colorado, where they converged on the Pepsi Center with a letter stating that presumptive nominee Barack Obama consider and endorse their platform of “Immediate withdrawal, full veterans benefits, and reparations for the Iraqi people.” Marching 4.5 miles from a concert hosted by Rage Against the Machine, ‘Operation First Casualty’ saw approximately 50 uniformed members (veterans and active duty) of the IVAW lead a group of protesters, numbering approximately 8,000, to the security perimeter of the Pepsi Center.
Matthis Chiroux was among their numbers.
Official estimates of the number of protesters range from 4,000 to 10,000, however this reporter was a witness to the start of the event and confirms that a number closer to 7,000 is accurate.
Two IVAW representatives, former Marine Lance Cpl. Jeff Key and Liam Madden,a former marine were allowed into the Convention grounds after a brief, tense, but peaceful standoff and was met by Obama campaign's veterans liaison, Phil Carter. Cpl Key reported to the assembled group that he had been allowed to deliver the IVAW’s letter.
“IVAW was founded by Iraq war veterans in July 2004 to allow servicemen and women from all branches of the military a chance to come together and speak out against an unjust, unwinnable and illegal occupation. Today, IVAW has over 1,300 members in 49 states, Washington, D.C. and Canada, and on military bases in the U.S. and overseas, including Iraq.”
This reporter attended their inaugural capacity public meeting at Faneuil Hall, Boston MA in June of 2004, during the weekend prior Democratic National Convention.
additional information can be found at:
Facebook Press release: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=38964080038&ref=mf
IVAW official website: www.ivaw.org
AUDIO SEGMENT from my interview with Sgt. Matthis Chiroux available here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUJps-eW2-Q
More about Iraq war, Presidential debates, Veterans, McCain, Obama
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