THE KINDER, GENTLER MILITARY
By Stephanie Gutmann
Scribner. $25 USA. Reprinted from the CMR Notes Newsletter.
The book, which has received many laudatory reviews, shines a bright light on the sorry consequences of cultural change in the military. It is a welcome addition to the ongoing debate.
Gutmann writes with a blunt, “no bull” approach that takes many people by surprise. The independent-minded former flower child, whose parents marched in Vietnam-era anti-war demonstrations, provides unsettling (and sometimes hilarious) accounts of social dysfunction in the military.
The nervy Ms Gutmann shows up most military writers, who rarely question the sanitized spin that is routinely handed out by Pentagon spokesmen. She frequently found it necessary to confront or evade public Affairs “PC Police,” who tried to restrict her every move on military installations, including the carrier USS Stennis.
The result is a fresh, eyewitness perspective reflecting respect for men and women in uniform, but disdain for clueless civilians who are putting soldiers through a risky social experiment that could undermine national security. She also faults uniformed leaders who are quick to deny obvious evidence of demoralizing problems.
Recommendations in the last chapter deserve serious consideration by any presidential candidate or member of congress who claims intent to restore the strength of the armed forces. By illuminating the problem, Stephanie Gutmann has become part of the solution.
Editor's Note: If you are not familiar with CMR Notes, a newsletter of the Center for Military Readiness, click here to learn about CMR's leadership role in promoting sound military personnel policies in the armed forces.