IVAW to march for questions regarding injured veterans be asked during the final U.S. presidential debate

From Matthis Chiroux

Dear Mr Schieffer,

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.

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 this demand is not agreed to IN FULL by 7 p.m. EST on the 15th, members of IVAW will lead a large contingent of veterans and our supporters on a NON-VIOLENT procession to the debate center and are prepared to risk arrest and/or bodily harm attempting to enter to have our voices heard.

(This action will look very similar to our marches at the DNC and RNC which were widely covered in the media and on youtube, should you wish to see what's coming.)

As the economy has continued its downhill slide this election season, the issue of Iraq has been pushed further and further away from peoples' minds, as well the platforms of the candidates. In addition, little to no attention has been paid this election season to the abysmal failure of the Veterans Administration to adequately care for our returning troops and their families and how we can work as a nation to fix this problem.

As a result, more and more veterans are falling into debt, starving, going homeless and killing themselves while the government REFUSES to allocate sufficient funds for our much needed and deserved care while simultaneously lining the pockets of the richest with $700 billion in taxpayer (including servicemembers and veterans) money.

Such blatant betrayals of our services and sacrifices cannot go unaddressed by IVAW, thus we will have our voices heard on the issues one way or the other, be it from inside the debate hall, or be it to a hoard of domestic and international press outside the event who have already expressed great interest in and dedication to covering our demonstration.

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?

Again, we are dedicated to 100% non-violence during this demonstration and will resist no arrest. However, 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.

I am attaching a press release we have been distributing for our action world wide. Should you have any questions or wish to arrange entrance ahead of time for our two members, contact me at*******.

I thank you for your time, sir, and look forward to meeting you in person.

For honor and country,

Matthis Chiroux

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 servicemembers 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.

Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan Events October/November

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