Five years into the Iraq war, the more than 30,000 wounded veterans and nearly 4,000 soldiers killed in the war — as well as the options for ending U.S. involvement in the country — are center-stage topics in the race for the White House.
MTV's Choose or Lose and The Associated Press will team up on Thursday to host "Choose or Lose Presents Clinton & Obama Answer Young Veterans," a candid discussion on the war's anniversary with the two Democratic presidential candidates, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as a group of vets.
The hourlong special will air at 6 p.m. ET Thursday on MTV, mtvU, MTV2, MTV Tr3s, MTV Hits and MTV Jams, and it will be streamed across 1,800 sites of the AP's Online Video Network. The forum is part of an ongoing Choose or Lose effort to mobilize more than 20 million 18- to 30-year-olds to vote in this year's primaries and general election. In addition to Clinton and Obama, the special will feature eight young veterans just back from at least one tour of duty in Iraq talking to the candidates in Pennsylvania, the site of the next critical Democratic primary contest on April 22.
The candidates will hear the personal stories of those who have served on the war's frontlines and answer questions about how they plan to lead the country's armed forces and deal with other national-security issues if they are elected.
In a year when millions of young adults have cast their ballots in early nominating contests for both parties — doubling, tripling, and sometimes even quadrupling their turnout in nearly every primary or caucus thus far — the war in Iraq and the war on terror continue to dominate their concerns. Recent MTV research shows that nearly six in 10 18- to 24-year-olds personally know someone who has served in Iraq, and this special aims to ensure America's youth get real answers from those vying to be the next commander in chief.
The commercial-free forum will be facilitated by MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway, and the same group of veterans will ask the candidates questions in sequential order. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Vietnam War veteran Senator John McCain, was invited to participate in this special but was unable to join due to scheduling issues.
In addition to airing across the MTV networks and AP syndicate, the show will be streamed on mobile devices via MTV Mobile 2 Broadcast on radio via MTV and Associated Press Radio. The eight veterans will have profiles and blogs about their experiences on Think.MTV.com, and viewers will be able to go to the site to find resources on how they can support the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan."Choose or Lose Presents Clinton & Obama Answer Young Veterans,"head here for additional material, including profiles of the Iraq veterans featured in the show.