If nothing else, 2007 will go down as the Year of the Iraq War Films. Back in September, when I reviewed Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq, I ran down the litany of the recent Iraq-war films, from Fahrenheit 9/11 to Body of War. Anyone who's been to film fests this year has probably had about all the war they can stomach for a while; it just gets depressing after a while. War is probably as old as mankind, and the evolution of modern weaponry hasn't made it any prettier when average people die in battles in which they are pieces in a chess game being played out by people who will likely never face death in the way the troops they send to fight their battles do.
Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience is one of the efforts this year to capture the experience of the soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2004, the National Endowment for the Arts started "Operation Homecoming," a project that brought some of America's most distinguished writers to the troops and their families, to create a compilation of stories and poems about the war, to be printed in an anthology. Pulling from this collection of thousands of writings-- ranging from poems to letters to parody of life in the desert -- the doc captures some of those stories, read by folks like Robert Duvall, Josh Lucas, and Aaron Eckhart. The writings -- some polished, some less so -- are wrenching reminders of the real cost of war, brought your way by the folks who are over there sweating in the desert and risking their lives on a daily basis.