The Enemy Within

The U.S. military is confronting an epidemic of suicides, which, in the Army alone, are currently averaging more than one a day. To deal with this scourge, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that he wants military leaders to “kick ass” and that he will hold them accountable for whether they succeed in helping desperate troops.

But while the commissioned officers and the noncommissioned officers currently leading men and women in combat and support units should make every effort to help their troops, they are not responsible for this sad state of affairs. Rather, the people who should be accountable are the civilian and military leaders who sent these men and women repeatedly into combat zones without sufficient time at home between combat deployments and lowered the standards for new enlistees in order to meet their recruitment goals.

This article was originally published in Foreign Policy.