First Word: Operation James
“He was just a kid, he wasn’t an enemy. This is what I signed up to do, to help people.” –Pfc. Joseph Dwyer, 7th Cavalry
As we go to press Pierce Brosnan‘s latest James Bond movie Die Another Day is set to open in the U.K. (May 2 and in the U.S., June 2). Brosnan wasn‘t interested in discussing 007, however, when he met with Irish America recently. The handsome hunk from Navan was all talk about his latest Irish movie, Evelyn, which, in case you missed it in the movie theaters, is now available on video in the U. S.
Set in the early 1950s, Evelyn is based on the true story of Desmond Doyle who fought back against the church and the Irish courts that took his children away and put them in orphanages when his wife deserted the family. Despite the harsh reality of the story, Evelyn is an upbeat movie with a great cast, including Aidan Quinn, Stephen Rae and Julianna Margulies, and Brosnan gives a stellar performance as Doyle. It is well worth a trip to the video store for the glimpse it provides of Ireland half a century ago when the church and state were all-powerful and sometimes abused that power.
Brosnan, of course, became a household name when he was cast as James Bond back in 1995. His three Bond movies to date have made a billion. It‘s expected that Die Another Day, which features the North Koreans as the baddies, will score just as highly. However, the movie (already on release in Asia) has caused a furor in Korea, North and South, over both the portrayal of the people and the fact that there is a love scene in a Buddhist temple.
Perhaps one shouldn’t expect a fictional character to worry about such sensitivities. But one would expect an institution of world renown such as the British Army to be a bit more diplomatic. Not so.
For anyone who ever saw a James Bond movie, the operation code names that the British Army used in Iraq are hard to forget – ‘Operation James‘ and its military targets, code named ‘Goldfinger,’ ‘Blofeld,’ and ‘Pussy Galore.’
One wonders what the Iraqis thought of the James Bond references.
“I think it’s just yet again an exhibition of the British sense of humor,” Captain AI Lockwood, the British armed forces spokesman in Qatar, told Jack Garland, of World News on April 7.
One shudders to think what code names the Army used for their operations in Northern Ireland over the past 30 years.
Certainly there is no humor in the shocking report just released by London’s chief constable Sir John Stevens, which reveals evidence of collusion between British Army officers, the police force and loyali st paramilitaries in targeting nationalists, including Patrick Finucane, a top Catholic lawyer, who in 1989 was gunned down in front of his wife and children. Read Frank Shouldice page I 0 and Tom Hayden‘s Last Word piece page 72.
There are of course, many fine men and women in the British Armed forces. Col. Tim Collins of the Royal Irish Regiment shows himself to be one of them in his address to his soldiers “We Go to Liberate Not to Conquer” (page 48).
Also in this issue the history of the 7th Cavalry, whose song is Garryowen, reflects the many fine soldiers who have served in the U.S. Army since the Battle of Little Big Horn (page 50). To that end the photo of Pfc. Joseph P. Dwyer (page 49) a member of the 7th Cavalry, in full battle gear, a look of deep concern on his face, carrying a wounded Iraqi child to safety, says it all. Pfc. Dwyer spoke for many of his fellow soldiers when he said, “He was just a kid, he wasn’t an enemy. This is what I signed up to do, to help people.” ♦