WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle will host a special White House dinner later this month to honor veterans of the Iraq war, two months after the last US troops left for home.
The event will take place on February 29 and include servicemen and women of all ranks, services and US states, who will represent the thousands of Americans who served in Iraq.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the dinner would express “the nation’s gratitude for the achievements and enormous sacrifices of the brave Americans who served in the Iraq war and of the families who supported them.”
President Barack Obama rose to power opposing the Iraq war and will campaign for reelection stressing that he kept his promise to get all American troops home from the eight-year war.
His wife has adopted the cause of veterans and the families of servicemen and women still serving overseas in the war in Afghanistan and other hot fronts in the long US anti-terror campaign.
US troops, who at their peak numbered nearly 170,000 on as many as 505 bases in Iraq, completed their withdrawal from the country on December 18.
The United States lost 4,500 US soldiers in the war, and thousands more returned home maimed by the loss of limbs, brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder.
British NGO Iraq Body Count said last year that around 162,000 people, almost 80 percent of them civilians, were killed in Iraq from the start of the 2003 US-led invasion up to the US withdrawal.