Three Men and a Truck: Matt and His Friends Help Liberate Libya

A critique of Point and Shoot, a documentary film by rebel filmmaker Matthew VanDyke

By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online

 

Captain Jeremy Griffith in Baghdad 2007

Captain Jeremy Griffith in Baghdad 2007

Recently I watched a war documentary filmed over five years by Matthew VanDyke. I’m a sucker for war films, but this one was way different that anything I’ve seen before, and definitely worth watching. You can find it now on Netflix.

 

The famous author Mark Twain is quoted as saying that the way to learn about a writer is to read his books. I think the same is true of the filmmaker. And so, even though I’ve never met Matt, I feel like I know him after watching this film. Here is a geeky guy from Baltimore, painfully awkward, looking for a “manly adventure”.

 

Most of us would join the military or something and go on deployment, but apparently for this guy, that never crossed his mind. I can see why. The guy is so tall and lanky, and painfully awkward as I said, the MEPS doctor would take one look at him and disqualify him as “unable to adapt to military life”, perhaps find a medical reason for doing so. One glaringly obvious reason to disqualify would be his OCD against bugs, germs, closed in spaces and other phobias that would be prohibitive for the life of a Soldier. And so, there is probably good reason this young man never darkens the door of a recruiter.

 

Instead he gets his Masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies or something and flies off to Africa with his Kawasaki bike and tours the country side for several years, filming himself as he goes. It’s kind of a Che Guevara type of motorcycle adventure, without the homicidal mania and the talk about communism. If that was the sum total of his adventure it would still be worth watching.

 

But the contacts and friendship Matt makes in Kaddafi’s Libya is preamble for the chapters that follow. Matt comes home to his girlfriend, wife? He never explains that part, and then the war in Libya happens and he’s drawn back to a war zone, this time to fight and not to document. In Iraq he embedded for a Baltimore paper to cover the war there from a Soldier’s perspective. They taught him how to load and shoot the various weapon systems. When he got to Libya, his experience handling weapons made him the SME, the subject matter expert, which is a frightening prospect.

 

In the midst of fighting that war he is captured in an ambush and spends a painful 5 months recuperating in solitary confinement in a Libyan prison. He goes a little nuts in prison, as one can well imagine and has visions about how the secretary of state Hillary Clinton comes to his aid and frees him. Of course he realizes after the fact that none of this is true. His release is secured because other prisoners riot and break out of the prison, and just happened to open the door of his cage on their way out the door. Matt is returned to the war and to his friends. He comes to realize that not all of his friends made it, having been killed in the ambush that landed him in prison.

 

Towards the end of the film, Matt describes how he participates in the final fall of the Kaddafi regime, fighting in a major battle. He’s not actually sure if he’s killed anyone, the enemy is always too far away and too impersonal. When he gets up close and personal with one sniper he fires, and misses his target. Then the end of the war arrives and Kaddafi is killed. Matt can take leave of his friends and go home.

 

Before the film wraps up, Matt meets up with his old Libyan friend Nuri. They go to the beach and go for a swim. It’s picturesque, very different from the conflict in the scenes before. Peaceful. There is nothing martial about Matt and his friends at all, they are all just peaceful people caught up in an ugly war for liberty. The videography is great and story is moving. I highly recommend it. Two thumbs up.

 

I’ve seen a few war documentaries in the past and I’ve enjoyed them. But this one is quite different. In this one, an awkward American turns from filmmaker to fighter in less than five years. If you met him on the street, you wouldn’t make him for a combat veteran, not like the ones I’ve seen. But in some ways he’s braver than many combat veterans I know. Courage is when you go outside your comfort zone and do the right thing even though it’s difficult. People who gravitate to the military and go on deployment are brave sure, but they’re built for that sort of thing. It’s not all that far out of their comfort zone. Matt is a fish out of water and yet he adapts. You won’t see him in a Navy SEAL bar acting all cavalier. He looks like a geek from Baltimore, a little more mature than when he left.

 

In some ways I admire this young man more than others who went with regular Army units to fight. When I went to Iraq, I was surrounded with the best trained, best equipped fighting force in the world. I felt pretty safe, having done some of that best of training myself at the home of the Infantry, Fort Benning Georgia. Matt and his friends had nothing; they were three men in a truck. That is a special kind of courage/slash foolishness, sometimes the distinction is too thin to really be sure.

“Matt and his friends had nothing; they were three men in a truck. That is a special kind of courage/slash foolishness, sometimes the distinction is too thin to really be sure.”

In a way I feel smallish following watching this film. I had all the best training in the world and in my retirement I watch angrily as ISIS takes over the greater Middle East, and Iraq where I was stationed for over 15 months. I could train, I could teach, I could mentor, and yet, here I am. I found myself yelling at the screen telling Matt and his friends, maneuver, don’t sit still, flank, find cover, return fire, go! But Matt and his friends didn’t have the training I had, just the availability. As the tragedy of the Christian and Yazidi genocide continues in the Middle East I wonder if more young men of little or no training will take up arms and join the “manly adventure” to liberate oppressed peoples. Maybe those few men and their truck will be more valuable than all the elite brigades the American Military has ever fielded?!

 

 

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Science Class Kills Faith Amongst Millennials

 

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online
The author at Fort Snelling, MN

The author at Fort Snelling, MN

I’ve often felt that science class kills faith amongst today’s youth and 20-somethings, and that’s too bad because, while science is interesting and helpful in understanding our universe, it doesn’t even touch the most interesting questions such as, “who am I” and “why am I here?”

 

Many years ago now the Star Trek franchise explored this idea in their first motion picture staring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. Shatner played the often emotional hotheaded, hard-charging star ship captain, while Nimoy’s played the alien half-Vulcan character which was much more complex and interesting, complete with a struggle against unnecessary human emotion.

 

Kirk and Spock encounter an alien entity that is on it’s way to Earth, presumably to invade. The crew of the Enterprise must figure out how to stop what appears to be a vastly superior life form before it decimates the planet. They learn through exploration that the life form is something humans created many years ago, a living breathing artificial conscious that is exploring its own meaning and attempting to find it’s “god” or creator.

 

Spock risks his own life to conduct a mind-meld with the creature (don’t make me explain that to non-trekkers!) and discovers the entity’s ulterior motive. There is a touching moment when Spock is recovering in the sick bay of the space ship Enterprise where the Vulcan explains his Earth-shattering discovery to his captain and friend, Jim Kirk. “This simple feeling is beyond Veeger’s (the entity) grasp. No feelings, no hope, no answers. It’s asking questions!”

 

“What questions?” Kirk asks.

 

“Is this, ALL that I Am?” replies Spock, grasping his friend’s hand. “Is there nothing more?!”

 

Science classes in both high school and college kills any pursuit of this question by brain washing students into thinking they are just animals, though high functioning animals on the food chain with the rest of the animals. They are the results of millions, sorry, billions of years of mistakes and chance mutations unguided by any sentient being that eventually ends up in a complex world we live in. Any indication that all this complexity is the result of intelligent design is merely a mirage or coincidence.

 

Serious scientists deny the metaphysical as being non-existent or irrelevant, unless of course they need it to explain something they can’t explain. Frank Sherwin illustrates this phenomenon in his article for ICR “The Strange Metaphysical World of Evolution”. You can read the article here.

 

Sherwin states, “Secular colleges and universities, the media, and the Internet are alive with vitriolic accusations regarding the supposedly unscientific nature of creation science.

“But is evolutionary science itself “scientific”? In opposition to what is normally claimed, it would seem that when it comes to the supernatural, secular science not only believes in it—it also depends on it.”

 

Sherwin sites examples of when supposed secular scientists drift into the metaphysical.

Apparently, evolutionary scientists believe in ghosts. When tetrapod tracks are found in Earth strata far deeper than their fossilized remains, that causes a problem of dates for the evolutionist, a factor of 18 million years worth.

Of course, scientists who believe in abrupt appearance or intelligent design have a solution to this problem. There was a flood and all of these creatures lived around the same time and were buried and fossilized at the same time, a theory the evolutionist totally reject as fantasy. But we are expected to believe in “ghost tracks”?

Sherwin has another example. Evolutionary biologists explain away seemingly complex design as compatible with the evolutionary model by citing, “magic” as their excuse. What?

Kathryn Applegate of BioLogos said, “The bacterial flagellum may look like an outboard motor, but there is at least one profound difference: the flagellum assembles spontaneously, without the help of any conscious agent.” Acknowledging that “the self-assembly of such a complex machine almost defies the imagination,” Dr. Applegate assures the reader that this is not really a problem, because “natural forces work ‘like magic.’”5 

 

A little explanation may be in order. Some bacteria exhibit motility through a projection like a hair that moves in a rotary motion like an outboard boat motor, called a flagellum. It moves them forward and backward, at different speeds and is really complex, making it hard to explain away through evolutionary methods. If evolution were a fact, then any mutation to create such a complex motor would have to be made in one step, which is not what the evolutionary model espouses. Any half measures of evolution would render such a system worthless and would die off before the trait was passed on. And this is a one-celled organism we’re talking about, not a more complex life form like a dog, an ape, or a man.

 

When explaining the motion of the cosmos, and why it defies evolutionary computer models, evolutionists make things up to explain it away, conjuring up dark energy and dark matter to bridge the gap.

 

Frank explains, “evolutionists believe in mysterious powers, like “the 5th Force: a mysterious new power [that] is shaping our cosmos,” according to New Scientist. The article says, “A force that keeps changing its spots might explain the mysteries of dark energy,” although this cryptic dark energy “has never been seen or produced on Earth.”3

Sherwin continues, “Some evolutionists believe in invisible hands:

“Our findings confirm that cooperation does not always require benevolence or deliberate planning. This form of cooperation, at least, is guided by an “invisible hand,” as happens so often in Darwin’s theory of natural selection.4”

 

My millennial nephew would swear that his eyes will bleed if he hears one more time that it takes just as much faith to believe in “science” that it does for “religion” that is translated, “evolution” vs. “creation”. Well cover your eyes and ears young nephew because I would reply that it does, and while evolutionists don’t mention it in textbooks, they sure will cite their faith in candid interviews outside the classroom.

 

Churches help the evolutionists inadvertently by contributing to the millennial unbelief by being irrelevant to their needs. There are ways to reverse that but it will take effort, and that is that churches need to address the issue of science in a way that educates the student on the errors and shortfalls of evolution and presents scientific information about creation that isn’t insulting to the intelligence of our youth. That means that youth pastors will have to get science instruction themselves before they present to the youth. But that is a subject for another day.

Bottom line is this, science is great, but is only one leg of the three legged stool called truth. The other two legs are called religion and philosophy, both touching the metaphysical realm that scientists say don’t exist. Ignoring a thing doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The problem of who we are, where we came from and what we might become are questions that are too weighty for science alone to answer.

 

 

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Response to Celebrity Gun Grabbers

by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online
Jeremy Griffith, the creator of The American Millennium Online.

Jeremy Griffith, the creator of The American Millennium Online.

OK, so the above video is my response to the dopey celebrity gun grabbers in light of the recent events in Charleston. While we morn for the people who died and their families, we are not willing to sacrifice our constitutional rights to self defense because of any tragic event.

Have you noticed the common factor in all of these tragedies? Safe Zones! Safe or gun free zones are not safe. When law abiding citizens are deprived of their right to self defense, the psychopaths come out of the wood work and murder people in mass where they know there won’t be any resistance. There aren’t any mass shootings at police stations or gun shows.

Notice something else. Violence is not limited to guns. All over the world, violent mass casualty events happen in the absence of guns. In Great Britain, a soldier was murdered by a Muslim with an ax adjacent to his own barracks. In Japan, people with long knives murdered many people. In Boston and Oklahoma City, bombs made out of house-hold items were used.

It’s not a matter of the accessibility of guns. It’s the state of the heart and soul of people. And regular folks deserve a fighting chance. A society disarmed by the state is as safe today as a baby seal during hunting season, not very much.

Let’s stop the dopey lists and celebrity videos demanding that the rights of citizens who murdered no one yesterday be sacrificed because some knucklehead racist wanted to start a race war. Let’s use common sense. Bad guys don’t follow laws.

You want to stop these mass casualty events? Buy a gun, take a safety class, get your permit to carry. Don’t live in a state where you can do that? Change the laws or move to a state that recognizes your rights. End of story.

Watch the dopey celebrity gun grabbing video at the website below.

http://www.upworthy.com/one-minute-of-fed-up-celebrities-talking-about-guns-is-actually-worth-your-time?c=ufb3

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A personal anecdote about a church experience in the south in the shadow of the Charleston tragedy

 

by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online
Jeremy Griffith, the creator of The American Millennium Online.

Jeremy Griffith, the creator of The American Millennium Online.

Now I write a personal anecdote about a church experience I had as a young man attending the Infantry Officers Basic Course at Fort Benning Ga. I share this in light of the tragedy that is happening in Charleston North Carolina today.

 

A young white man in his early 20s went into a church and blew away nine innocent black people attending a Bible study. My heart goes out to the family and friends of these unfortunate victims. I am reminded of an incident that happened to me as I walked into an African-American church in Columbus Georgia over 20 years ago.

 

I was attending the Infantry School as a newly commissioned officer and I was looking for a temporary church home. I had attended a grandiose Methodist church in downtown Columbus with a huge chapel and large congregation and I was underwhelmed. I felt like a stranger in that church that was so cavernous and ornate. No one greeted me and I was alone in a crowd. I was looking for something else.

 

On a later Sunday I found myself in an African-American Methodist Church, much smaller than the one I had attended the previous Sunday. I didn’t know it was a black church. I have to admit I was very uncomfortable; I wasn’t sure how I would be received as a white person in that predominantly black congregation. I didn’t want to cause any trouble. The reaction I got from parishioners was very different.

 

A large black woman in a colorful dress and matching hat greeted me. She was bubbly and cheerful and welcoming. I found that her attitude was common to the people who attended that church, who didn’t seem to notice or care that I was a different ethnicity. I remember the service lasted 3 hours and the preacher was very dynamic. The music was loud and heartwarming. I never had the opportunity to attend again, but I always remember that day, when total strangers from a different state, a different race, welcomed me as if I was a brother.

 

How horrible for the people of Charleston today who grieve over their neighbors who lost their lives at of all places, a Bible study. A maniac with a gun attended with them for an hour listening to their words and study and interacting with them, before deciding to go ahead with his deadly plan, ending the lives of people he didn’t even know. It’s a shame. It’s worse: pure evil.

 

I know that many who hear about this news will grieve along with the people of Charleston, as I do. When I think of these events, I am reminded of the warm and loving Christians who welcomed me when I was a stranger. With that warmth in my heart, I embrace the victims of this tragedy and their families. I hope that God will embrace them as they cross over through the pearly gates.

The words of our Lord Jesus as they appear in the gospel of Matthew 25:35-40

 

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

jlg

 

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Update: Marine Convicted for Religious Expression in the Workplace

by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online

 

This is an update to the story I wrote previously about a Marine convicted for religious expression in the work place. I’ve obtained court documents posted by the Marine defendant’s lawyer posted on the website of Liberty Institute. You can view a story as well as get links to the documents here.  

I’ve read the documents and they discuss the background regarding the Marine posting religious quotes on her workstation, and subsequently being ordered to remove them. Her refusal to remove the quotes led to her court-martial and discharge from the Marines. The original story from Fox News discusses the charge of religious intolerance, and briefly mentions the other charges in a paragraph or two lower in the story. According to Liberty Institute Attorney Michael Berry, the subsequent charges happened months later and in his view are trumped up to give the court-martial complaint added weight. Charges including dereliction of duty, disobeying a superior officer or failing to report to your work area as ordered.

Allegedly, the Marine did not report because of a hip injury and a restriction order from her doctor. If the doctor’s order conflicts with the order of the Marine’s superiors, making her unable to work, then the testimony of the doctor should reflect that and the Marine should be acquitted. If the medical orders do not conflict and the Marine disobeyed orders, failed to report and failed to report in proper uniform, then court martial may be justified. I just don’t know from these documents what the doctor told the court or if he even was allowed to testify.

I don’t like the fact that I did not see these facts presented in any of the original reporting. The documents presented by the attorney address the alleged religious intolerance of Sterling’s superiors, they do not address the other items except as a footnote. I share these details for a desire to establish fairness and to inform the reader. This story may be updated further in the future.

Read the original Fox News Story from Todd Starnes here. 

 

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