White House holding dinner for Iraq war veterans

Those invited will be veterans from all ranks and services and all 50 states who served in Iraq, Carney said. The dinner will be held on Feb. 29.

Pentagon public affairs chief Doug Wilson said that more than 200 would attend the dinner, which would include wounded warriors and Gold Star families. He said the list of attendees was still being determined.


“The president and Ms. Obama want the East Room of the White House on the evening of Feb. 29 to look like and represent the America that served in Iraq,” Wilson said.

The dinner is a way for the administration to commemorate the end of the Iraq war, but some have called for a more public display. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a veterans advocacy group, has urged for a ticker-tape parade for Iraq war veterans.

St. Louis hosted a parade for Iraq war veterans last month, the only major city to do so. In New York City, which is hosting a parade for the Super Bowl champion New York Giants on Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last month that a parade would be “premature” with so many troops in harm's way.

IAVA founder Paul Rieckhoff made the football-military comparison on Friday in a blog post advocating for a parade for veterans.

Wilson said senior military officials, including Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, don’t feel a national-level ticker-tape parade is appropriate while troops are still engaged in combat in Afghanistan.  

Wilson said that the dinner and the parade are not connected. “This is not a matter of a dinner instead of a parade,” he said.

— This story was updated at 2:45 p.m.