"What's wrong with praising our troops to the rafters and adding them to our pantheon of heroes? A lot." A retired lieutenant colonel laments the blanket praise heaped on our troops. "Ever since the events of 9/11, there's been an almost religious veneration of U.S. service members as 'Our American Heroes.' But a snappy uniform—or even dented body armor—is not a magical shortcut to hero status," says retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and history professor William Astore. "By making our military a league of heroes, we ensure that the brutalizing aspects and effects of war will be played down. In celebrating isolated heroic feats, we often forget that war is guaranteed to degrade humanity as well."