On Wednesday, October 15th 2008, a peaceful protest outside the third Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on Long Island was met with violence and misconduct by police.
Iraq Veterans Against the War had a clear mission that night: to ensure that the issues most important to Veterans would be at the forefront of the debate. With over 4,183 service members having been killed in Iraq (at the time of the protest), it’s unforgivable that the candidates have been allowing the Occupation of Iraq and it’s casualties to fall into avoidable talking points instead of focused attention.
At 7:00pm the night of the debate, IVAW members led a contingent of a few hundred peaceful protesters to the main gate of Hofstra University. As per our letter to Moderator Bob Scheiffer, because we hadn’t received notice that two of our Veterans would be allowed to enter the debate to address the candidates, a small, uniformed contingent of Veterans physically attempted entry.
Immediately police began arresting those who “crossed the line”. They then began using horses to physically knock protesters back away from the Hofstra gates.
As the order to get back on the sidewalk was being complied to at least one officer charged his horse up the curb, and onto the sidewalk- directly resulting in at least three injuries- including two Iraq Veterans.
Nick Morgan, a former Army Sergeant was trampled, knocked out, and had his face crushed by the hoof of a horse.
Witnesses say that police left him unconscious on the sidewalk for up to ten minutes before arresting him. Nick, disoriented and obviously suffering a concussion, was initially refused medical treatment beyond a simple piece of gauze taped to his face.
Supporters of the Hofstra 15 are now asking that you contact Back Obama and John McCain and demand they answer the vets’ questions posted below. Please support the brave men and women that demand nothing but some answers regarding their health care,
See the following websites to contact each candidate!
The Questions which we, the Veterans, wished to ask
Senator McCain, on July 9th 2008 you were quoted saying “I’ve received every award from every major veterans organization in America but the reason why I have a perfect voting record from organizations like Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and all the other Veterans Service Organizations is because of my support of them.”
However, there are non-partisan Veterans Organizations such as the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) who’ve noted that you’ve consistantly voted against important issues such as increased VA funding in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. This summer, another Veterans Organization, Veterans for Common Sense filed suit against the VA and discovered that approximately 1000 Veterans under their care are attempting suicide each month, with an average of 17 succeeding every 30 days. Government surveys conclude that over 300,000 21st Century Warriors are currently suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, while only 67 thousand have been diagnosed with with PTSD, and less than half of those are collecting disablity benefits. Doctors and Nurses at the VA are struggling to treat the 2 million American Troops who’ve deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. What promises are you willing to make, as a Veteran, as a Senator, as a Presidential Candidate, to the Veterans of the United States to prove that you will ensure the VA is fully funded, staffed, and capable of preventing Troops from suffering as they are now, after they’ve served our great nation overseas?
-Sergeant Kristofer Goldsmith
Operation Iraqi Freedom III Veteran
Senator Obama, you have said that the War and Occupation of Iraq is illegal. If by your words, it is illegal, then it is not only the right of service members such as myself to refuse deployment and participation in Iraq, it is also our responsibility. Sir, as President, are you willing to go by your own words and back them up, and support servicemembers refusing to participate in what you have, in your own words, termed an “Illegal Occupation”?
-Sergeant Matthis Chiroux
Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran