Fifteen protesters were arrested and at least one person was trampled by mounted police outside the gates of Hofstra University last night where the third and final McCain-Obama debate was held. The arrests and injures followed police repression of an Iraq Veterans Against the War led march, in which IVAW members attempted to enter the campus and present questions to presidential candidates. According to a report by Democracy Now! IVAW member Matthis Chiroux's question for Senator Obama was: "You yourself have said that the war and occupation of Iraq is illegal. If, by your words, it is illegal, then it is not the right of service members such as myself to refuse deployment and participation in Iraq; it is our responsibility. So, sir, as president, are you willing to go by your own words to back them up and support service members refusing to participate in what you yourself have termed an illegal occupation? " IVAW member Kristofer Goldsmith's question for Senator McCain was: "As a veteran who claims that he has been endorsed by every major veterans’ organization in America, you continually refused to fund the VA. In the years 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, you have refused or voted against VA funding. We currently have 1,000 service members, 1,000 veterans, attempting suicide each month in this country. We have an average of seventeen or eighteen succeeding in killing themselves each month in this country. Senator McCain, what are you doing? Are you prepared to fully fund the VA system? Are you prepared to fully staff the VA system? And what are you going to do about your poor voting record according to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and the Disabled American Veterans?" Read more here and here
Sam Stoker is a freelance reporter based in Chicago.