Jack Granatstein: Disputed war museum exhibit contains 'true' facts, historian argues
War historian Jack Granatstein has joined the verbal battle over whether an exhibit at the Canadian War Museum should be changed in the face of veterans' angry complaints it portrays Second World War bomber crews as "war criminals."
In a blunt statement Wednesday to a Senate subcommittee examining the issue, Granatstein said it would be wrong to bow to demands to alter the exhibit.
Granatstein, an author and a former head of the museum, said he has deep gratitude to those who attacked Germany and "saved the world from Hitler."
But he said the exhibit at the heart of the veterans' anger - entitled An Enduring Controversy - would be historically flawed if it didn't refer to the continuing debate over the effectiveness and morality of the Allied bombing strategy designed to cripple the Nazi war machine.
"They are subjects of hot debate that must be included," he told the subcommittee on veterans' affairs. "You cannot change facts by ignoring them."
Unless a museum serves historical truth, he said, it will be reduced to being "a storehouse for medals and artifacts and a vehicle for national braggadocio."
Representatives of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Air Force Association and the Aircrew Association are pressing the subcommittee to back their calls to have the display reworded.
Senator Colin Kenney made clear he thinks the veterans' have a point. He said museum officials had unnecessarily "aggravated, offended, embarrassed, and humiliated" people who rank as heroes and he urged them to address veterans' concerns.
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