Student Researcher: Katie McCartin, Melissa Bock, Anne Geiler, Ava Roebuck, Morgan Burke, Scott O’Neil
Faculty Instructor: Kevin Howley
Potential Evaluator: Nafhat Nasr
Ten veterans and four civilians were arrested outside the final presidential debate on October 15 at Hofstra University. They were entering the debate in attempts to deliver questions about candidates’ plans of withdrawal from Iraq and veterans’ benefits.
Instead of entering, the group was met by riot police and police on horseback. Several people were injured, including Sergeant Nick Morgan, an Iraq veteran who suffered a broken cheekbone.
The veterans were members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), an organization calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, repairs to the damages Iraq has suffered due to the war, and full benefits for all veterans returning from duty.
Members of IVAW are concerned about the future of the war in Iraq and the livelihood of soldiers returning from service. They attempted to deliver briefings on veterans’ issues at both Democratic and Republican National Conventions. The veterans met with an Obama representative at the Democratic Convention but were escorted off the premises at the Republican Convention.
IVAW were displeased with the results of their efforts at the conventions, justifying their presence at the debate. Jason Lemieux, a former Marine Corps Sergeant who served two tours of duty in Iraq stated that: “Neither candidate has shown real support for service members and veterans.”
Despite the October 15 arrests and injuries as well as the discouraging events at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, IVAW remain optimistic about their mission. Lemieux concluded his statement on a positive note: “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, and we will be pushing for that no matter what happens in this election.”
“Iraq War Veterans Arrested While Attempting to Deliver Questions to Obama and McCain” Jason Lemieux and Kristofer Goldsmith, ivaw.org, 10/18/08
“Anti-War Veterans and Supporters Arrested and Trampled While Trying to Enter Final Presidential Debate” Independent Media Center, 10/18/08
“IVAW Violently Attacked by Police at Debate” Ben Dean-Kawamura, indymedia Rochester, NY, 10/18/08.
“At Least Nine Demonstrators Arrested as Iraq Vets Try to Enter Final Debate” Alex Kane, The New York City Independent Media Center, 10/16/08
“Presidential Debate Protestors Charged by Mounted Police; Iraq Veterans Injured, Arrested” David Mathison, The Huffington Post, 10/15/08.