Choice of Force: Special Operations for Canada


313 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 1-55339-042-3
DDC 355.4'22'0971




Edited by David Last and Bernd Horn
Reviewed by J.L. Granatstein

J.L. Granatstein, Distinguished Research Professor of History Emeritus,
York University, served as Director of the Canadian War Museum from 1998
to 2000. His latest works are Who Killed Canadian History?, Who Killed
the Canadian Military, and Hell’s Cor


In the last several years, the Royal Military College of Canada has
become a “real” university, its faculty and graduate students
contributing solid research to military and politico-military problems.
This book, the second of two on the role of Canada’s Special Forces,
contributes to this reputation.

Special Forces are hot these days, with much talk—but little hard
evidence—of their important role in Afghanistan and Iraq. Canada’s
JTF-2, the Canadian Forces Special Forces unit, seems to have played its
part in Afghanistan, if not Iraq, and it is said to be considered a
“Tier One” unit able to take on the toughest tasks. But we know
little about it, so pervasive is the secrecy. The essays in this book,
most by scholars connected with the RMC, offers little hard evidence but
much theory. Some of this is fascinating—for example, the suggestion
that Canada’s multicultural makeup can provide a real edge in
recruiting and using Special Forces. Perhaps, but the volume snaps
readers back to reality by reminding us that talk is all that Canada
ordinarily brings to the Allied table and that political will to use
Special Forces (and conventional ones too) is the key. There has not
been much sign of that from Ottawa in the last decade.


“Choice of Force: Special Operations for Canada,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 28, 2024,