I want to write about something we don't talk about. More than likely, you don't want to read this, but you need to. It seems paradoxical to our military values. Often times, we would rather wish it away with eyes wide shut instead of gathering intel, defining the problem, maneuvering to the position of strength, and assaulting through the objective like we are taught. According to the Associated Press,
"Families of service members who commit suicide are now getting condolence letters from the president just like families of fallen service members, a White House official said Tuesday."
Dishonorable quitter's right? They couldn't suck it up, I suppose. Perhaps. Muddled in those waters is the current discussion of toxic leaders. Over at Wings over Iraq, Starbuck assumes,
"When a private is charged with DUI, it causes little more than mere consternation. But when a senior officer is charged with DUI, fraternization, or shoplifting, it's simply pathetic. (Until the bloggers get ahold of it, of course. Then it becomes endlessly amusing. Well, until we find a suitable LOLcat to distract us)."
Seems logical right? One plus one equals two? But then there's this spot report. In February, Lt. Gen. David Fridovich acknowledged his struggles with addiction.
So, logically, Fridovich is a toxic and pathetic leader? I don't think so.
Instead, something is going on with a small population of mid and senior level officers and non-commissioned officers. I have had the privilege to meet some of these amazing men and women. I can't say that I fully understand their plight because I don't. And, I don't know the answers. But, I do know that the folks dealing with the hardest problems often have more tours in combat than you or I, and they are the most decorated.
Another way to understand what they're going through is to listen to their dilemma instead of brushing it off to "Dude, I know that you spent your entire twenties fighting a war. Now, it is your designated time to fix all your family and personal issues. Then, suck it up and drive on."
We can do better than this.