Canadian Navy Book to Chronicle Their Role in the War on Terror

Roundup: Talking About History

Jim Bronskill writing for the Canadian Press (Jan. 8, 2004)

The navy plans to tell Canadians about its secret role in the war on terrorism -- for a price.

The Defence Department has commissioned a book on the navy's overseas missions, based partly on classified material, with the aim of hitting store shelves by summer.

The government is seeking a co-publisher for the volume, tentatively titled Operation Apollo: The Golden Age of the Canadian Navy in the War Against Terrorism.

An outline of the book claims it will reveal"significant but unreported operations" undertaken abroad by Canadian sailors following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

The federal plan to chronicle Canada's efforts against terrorism rankles Jay Hill, the Canadian Alliance defence critic.

"I see this as just an effort at blatant propaganda on the part of the department," Mr. Hill said yesterday in an interview.

Maj. Tony White, a navy spokesman, defended the project as a worthwhile review of a major military operation."It was a monumental undertaking, and in our minds warranted a real good historical perspective," he said."We feel strongly about that."

At its peak two years ago, the Canadian naval task group active in the area stretching from the Horn of Africa to Central Asia included six warships and about 1,500 navy personnel.

The author, historian and retired navy officer Richard Gimblett, also helped write a 1997 account of the Canadian Forces' role in the Persian Gulf War.

The book about Operation Apollo is an"authorized account." But to discourage" charges of propaganda," the navy gave Mr. Gimblett" complete freedom" in preparation of the manuscript, the federal notice says.

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