If a military veteran went to the hospital with an obvious wound, it’s natural to expect that treatment would commence without delay. But not every war injury is immediately apparent or visible to the untrained eye.

With the wind-down of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of the returning troops are seeking care for mental-health issues stemming from their service experiences. But the Veterans Affairs Department’s inspector general says many of those vets aren’t being seen as quickly as they should be — and the VA’s flawed tracking system gives a false picture of the problem’s magnitude. Even though the Veterans Health Administration reported in 2011 that 95 percent of veterans received a comprehensive mental exam within 14 days of requesting one (the time frame in agency policy), the actual number was 49 percent, the inspector general reported last week.

This is unacceptable.

Providing these services is an obligation the American public has to those who’ve served, and it must be fulfilled as diligently as they served us.