Iraqi Veterans Against the War - Plans/statement for action at Oct. 15 debate at Hofstra

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) will lead non-violent demonstrations at Hofstra University prior to the final presidential debate Oct. 15 to demand two IVAW members be allowed to ask each candidate one question.

Should IVAW's demands not be met in full by 7 p.m., members of the organization are willing to risk arrest by entering the debate to have their voices heard by the candidates.

IVAW intends to "force the issue" that service members and veterans are not being heard or cared for by our leaders. The next president should make caring for our wounded military a top domestic priority, in addition to ending the war in Iraq.

"Right now there are veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan going homeless, hungry, into debt and contemplating suicide," said Matthis Chiroux, an IVAW member from Brooklyn. "But the government says we don't have the money to care for those war heroes, so the V.A. continues its mission underfunded and understaffed. But now we've found almost a trillion to bail out banks? Where's the humanity in this?"

IVAW is currently working to contact debate moderator Bob Schieffer to make its demands known.

"I watched the first debate the other night, for which the topic was supposed to be 'foreign policy', yet it took 34 minutes before the words 'Iraq' or 'Veteran' left either candidates' mouths," said Kris Goldsmith, an IVAW member from Long Island. "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."

Participants should begin assembling at the Hempstead Long Island Railroad station at 2:30 p.m. At five, we will "walk" to Hempstead University for further demonstrations.

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.

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