While we were in New Jersey, one of our nieces showed us Unembedded. It's the companion to an exhibit and a book by four photojournalists who have been working in Iraq.
In case you don't know what the title refers to, the mainstream media in Iraq is tightly controlled by the US government, said to be "embedded" in the military. Journalists and photographers actually signs contracts that limit what they are allowed to report.
All the major news organizations signed these contracts without protest. Indeed, after being locked out of Afghanistan and the first Gulf War, they were whooping with joy over the supposed increased access. Many TV reporters were positively giddy at the chance to don flak jackets and play soldier. This was during the initial invasion, in March 2003. I don't know if they're quite so jolly anymore.
My niece showed us the Unembedded website during a discussion about the American public's consciousness of the war in Iraq. We all agreed that you could live your life in the US, go about your business every day, and never know that the country is at war.
When I was growing up, I saw the war in Southeast Asia every night on TV. I believe that helped fuel the peace movement and bring an end to the carnage. That's a "lesson of Vietnam" the US learned well.
A war resister I am interviewing is amazed and impressed at how Canada receives every soldier who has died in Afghanistan. Despite believing Canada should not have a military presence in Afghanistan, this person feels - and I agree - that every casualty should be honoured and remembered for making the ultimate sacrifice.
American bodies come home from Iraq in the middle of the night. The media is not allowed to show the coffins. A few years ago, a woman photographed the flag-draped coffins on their way home. She worked for a cargo aircraft company that contracts with the military, and felt that Americans should see what she was seeing every day. The Seattle Times published the photo - and the woman lost her job. Another Vietnam lesson learned.