There's been a debate in the Los Angeles Times recently about whether all of America's servicemen and women should be labeled as heroes. William J. Astore, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, began with a July 22 opinion piece arguing that automatically calling troops "heroes" was misguided and even dangerous. "By making our military a league of heroes, we ensure that the brutalizing aspects and effects of war will be played down," he wrote.
Then, predictably, came the backlash: Dorian de Wind, a retired U.S. Air Force major, denounced Astore's views and argued that the brutal actions of a few soldiers don't diminish the bravery and selflessness of most. "[C]alling the other 99.9% of our troops heroes will definitely not produce 'cognitive dissonance' in the minds of Americans, nor will it result in Americans calling acts of violence of our troops 'necessary, admirable, even noble,'" he countered.
While this brouhaha plays itself out on the opinion pages, Joanne Rasmussen of Huntington Beach prepares for her only daughter to ship overseas with the U.S. Navy.