What does military historian Jack Granatstein add to the public debate in Canada? Does it ever amount to much more than grumpy rants infused with personal attacks and innuendo?
Since January 2008, the National Post has carried six op-eds from Mr. Granatstein. Not to be outdone, The Globe and Mail has carried 14 over the same time period.
But the man’s views are so out dated, they should devote a wing of the Dinosaur Musem to him.
It’s no secret that Mr. Granatstein can’t stand anyone who disagrees with him, and so takes every opportunity to attack the Rideau Institute, its staff, or both.
Here is a particularly slanderous swipe in the National Post from last summer:
“[The Rideau Institute's] program director, Anthony Salloum, a former NDP staffer on Parliament Hill, “found” some secret Department of National Defence documents in a garbage can (and if you believe this I have a Bloor Street viaduct I can get for you cheaply), and the two have a shrewd sense of what will get attention.”
The truth is that Anthony Salloum found the documents just as the Ottawa Citizen describes it (and reporter David Pugliese gives an accurate account of how the story unfolded on his blog).
In fact, this week it was revealed that the military’s investigation confirmed that the documents, dumped on the street by a contractor, contained sensitive information and actually posed a security risk to the military.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, the investigators concluded that “some of the information in this and other projects, especially when considering the impact of the aggregation of information, could be considered harmful to DND if compromised and thus falls between designated and classified.”
Col. Allain Pellerin, the retired colonel who heads a DND-funded think tank along the same lines as Jack Granatstein’s, played spin-doctor for the military at the time the documents were found. The Globe and Mail reported:
“One military analyst said he’s been told it wasn’t considered a security breach because the plans were part of an engineering firm’s failed effort to win a deal to build the facility. ‘After they didn’t get it, I assume they just threw the plans in the garbage,’ said Alain Pellerin of the Conference of Defence Associations. Essentially, he said, the blueprints were a draft plan for a building that won’t be built.”
Both Jack Granatstein and Col. Alain Pellerin seem willing to be used by the military – at the cost of their credibility – to help disseminate misinformation. And senior editors at newspapers should be looking a lot closer, instead of giving them both an easy pass.
You can wait for Jack Granatstein and Col. Pellerin to admit they were wrong, but don’t hold your breath.