Presuming it doesn't get hijacked by those with an agenda. And with the inclusion of Victor Davis Hanson...we can be assured the conservative view has an outlet.
"Operation Homecoming" will make some of this country's most prominent authors available to servicemen and -women, for workshops and lectures intended to help them express and record what they've seen and felt in combat.Well, yes, so they are. But there have been oh, a hundred thousand soldiers or so who have already returned from this war. And the local press seems to be able to find those with voices fairly well.
The program is part oral history project, part literary talent search, and part a writing-as-therapy program for troops, particularly those in Iraq, who have been under extraordinary stress in America's first protracted war since Vietnam.
The 16 writers who agreed to participate by visiting military bases include Tobias Wolff, Tom Clancy, Victor Davis Hanson and McKay Jenkins. Ten other writers, including Shelby Foote and Richard Wilbur, have contributed reminiscences and readings to a compact disc and Web site the Endowment has produced.
The NEA project will add to extensive oral history projects supported by the military, and to a Library of Congress initiative to collect material, including journals and letters, from veterans of the two world wars, and the Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars. "Operation Homecoming," which will anthologize the best of the material it collects, is focused on soldiers fresh from the ongoing conflict.
"These are not voices we would easily hear, otherwise," NEA chairman Dana Gioia says. They haven't been heard for a number of reasons, most important of which is that America's military men and women are preoccupied with fighting.
So, I'm not buying all the way into Ms. Gioia's explanation.