Almost 70 years ago, Gen. George S. Patton caused a scandal when he slapped a soldier hospitalized for “nerves” and called the soldier a coward.

If Patton had had a blog, it might have looked like one maintained by Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard, commander of the 1st Armored Division, who used high-tech communication this year to show that we still don’t fully understand the stresses that fighting unending wars creates for troops.

Pittard’s harsh words were aimed at people who tragically take their own lives after serving in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I have now come to the conclusion that suicide is an absolutely selfish act,” he wrote. “I am personally fed up with soldiers who are choosing to take their own lives so that others can clean up their mess.”

The alarming suicide rate among servicemen and servicewomen is a scandal, and rather than berate victims, responsible officials like Pittard should be making sure that the men and women in their command are getting the help that they need. For a decade, members of our all-volunteer armed services and their families have been asked to make unique sacrifices marked by financial disruption and long separations caused by multiple deployments.

To its credit, the Defense Department has put resources into studying and dealing with the problem with the creation of the Suicide Prevention Office at the Pentagon. But despite knowing more about who has committed suicide, the numbers are still surging. So far this year, there has been nearly one suicide a day, far outstripping the numbers of those killed by the enemy. The surge is confusing, because it comes at a time when hostilities are winding down.

Suicides are not listed with the battlefield casualties, but they are a very real cost of war.

Patton was disciplined and temporarily lost his command for his act of brutality. Pittard’s blog post was arguably much worse because we should have learned much more by now about the mental stress of combat. But Pittard has not been removed from service and has not apologized.

Comments like Pittard’s show that as much as we have learned in the last decades, there is still a long way to go if we are ever going to honor our part of the commitment made to those who volunteer for military service.