Verbal Combat In the Modern Age

Aikido throw

Aikido (left) versus Karate (right)

A metaphor for modern communication …

The difficulty in trying to communicate through electronic/social media (Email, FB, Twitter, etc) is:  That you can’t physically read the other person’s body language (especially facial expressions).  There is no immediate physical feedback to help you gauge the level of comprehension in the recipient.  With electronic media you lose that all-important aspect of human interaction.  The use of emoticons (smiley faces, frowning faces, puzzled faces, angry faces) can help a tad, but they don’t replace the fine nuances of the human face.  How often has one of your electronic messages been misinterpreted by the recipient?  Often I suspect.  We, as humans, process all of our incoming information through our own internal filters—complete with biases, prejudices and personal experiences.  Incoming information has to pass through a lot of personal history before it reaches our so-called thinking, or rational, brain.

I don’t think that I am violating anyone’s privacy by sharing this recent Facebook exchange; after all Facebook is on the open internet, and I’m sure that the NSA checks on it regularly. I just thought it was highly illustrative of the frustrating attempts at communication shared by people of various backgrounds, educations and experiences.  It’s why I prefer my serious discussions to be Mano a Mano (one on one, hand to hand or face to face).

The original post came from my first cousin David Dennstedt, and then the usual suspects joined in the verbal fisticuffs.  I entered the fray about midway through the post, and immediately entered into verbal combat with Dustin.  I’ve met Dustin online  before, and he is a worthy opponent.  However, his style (in my opinion) is more analogous to the hard punch found in the Karate school of martial arts, whereas I liken mine to the flowing water of Aikido.  I enjoy a good round of verbal combat, on occasion, with a worthy adversary.

I’ve highlighted Dustin and Stephen in red, but you’ll appreciate the context more if you read everyone’s comments.  I know a number of my blog followers don’t do Facebook, and that very well may be a good decision on your part.  But you might get some entertainment mileage from this dialog anyway.

The Original Facebook Post:  David Dennstedt

If you type in PAT in yahoo search, it anticipates firstly, Pat Benitar, then Pat Tillman. He is still the second most searched Pat, on the internet. What a story. A kid who left a career in professional Football to join the Military. I still wonder if he ever asked his parents what they thought about this choice. Did he ever think about them. He had a successful career. Then he dies in Afghanistan, killed by his own men. What a waste. And the Military gets caught trying to turn him into a hero.

Pat Tillman

Pat Tillman

Andy Darby War is always a waste – but you could say he died for what he believed in and gave up his career for the same reason. People don’t generally have a very high regard for politicians but young men go to war because of patriotism – the most effective tool in the politicians toolbox for getting the people to do what they want them to. Without patriotism wars wouldn’t happen unless to defend a country. Patriotism IMO is a form of brainwashing – the most susceptible turning out to be the most patriotic.
21 hours ago · Like

Dustin E. Putnam “War is always a waste”

Yeah, such a waste to end Nazism and the gas chambers and American chattel slavery.

“Without patriotism wars wouldn’t happen unless to defend a country. ”

Or, say, to create a new one. Ever heard of the United States of America?
20 hours ago · Like

Dustin E. Putnam Apparently your opinion suddenly changed, eh?

20 hours ago · Like

Janene Caracaus I’m no fan of war, but each person lives the way he wants and what is meaningful to himself and has the right to live his life the way he sees fit; one man’s medicine is another man’s poison.
20 hours ago · Like

Andy Darby Dustin – Have you ever been to war ?
20 hours ago · Unlike · 1

Jim Cochran Although I’ve never seen combat or ever been to war, I always knew I’d join the Navy and serve aboard a submarine. I admire Pat Tillman’s conviction of courage to leave such a coveted career to serve ones country. I imagine everyone in combat has the thought of being a casualty of friendly fire from time to time. Even though Pat Tillman died from friendly fire, his service should be remembered with respect for defending democracy by killing those who would kill you and I with no reservation.
19 hours ago · Like · 2

Dustin E. Putnam Darby, did you miss that you seemed to contradict yourself, and your comment appears incoherent, hmmm?

First you say war is “always” a waste, then suggest it’s not a waste when engaged in to “defend a country.”

Unless, of course, self defense is in your opinion a waste. LOL!
19 hours ago · Like

Dustin E. Putnam And then you like a comment that says war should be respected when in defense of democracy.

So which is it, Darby? Is war always a waste or not always a waste? Can you make some sense here?
19 hours ago · Like

Andy Darby Putnam. I said that war is always a waste yes. I then spoke of Patriotism which leads men to war. The defenders of a country have no choice to partake or not – so for them it is not a matter of Patriotism but a matter of necessity.
19 hours ago · Unlike · 1

Dustin E. Putnam You remain incoherent.

Setting aside the fact that a man always has a choice, always has a choice, and that men have in fact met their death by taking a principled stand to abstain from violence, necessity is irrelevant. So is self defense.

War is either “always” a waste or it’s not always a waste.

The fact of the matter is, due to human nature, that war is not always a waste, because there will always be evil men that arise to threaten humanity and kill people who cannot be stopped with anything else but violence.
19 hours ago · Like

Andy Darby There is a lot more necessity in fighting a war if troops are entering your town and killing innocent civilians and slaughtering your family – as opposed to walking down to your recruiting office on a Saturday morning – signing on the dotted line and embarking on a plane to go and fight in Afghanistan.
18 hours ago · Unlike · 1

Andy Darby Sometimes to kill evil people is necessary to prevent further bloodshed and if a few die along the way – then OK it is a shame more than a waste
18 hours ago · Like · 1

Andy Darby Remember though that throughout history roughly 80% of people killed in war are civilans not troops – now that is a terrible waste
18 hours ago · Unlike · 1

Dustin E. Putnam Maybe. I’m not so sure that civilian deaths are always a waste. More to the point, I don’t think it’s even a waste when they are intentionally targeted, as was done in the US Civil War and in WWII. Sometimes such acts serve to end the war sooner and thus save lives in the long run.
18 hours ago · Like

Andy Darby Targetting women and children will normally be like throwing fuel on the fire – not good modern day tactics
18 hours ago · Like

Dustin E. Putnam Well that depends entirely on the nature of your enemy, because human nature has not changed and so if it worked in the past there is no reason to think that it wouldn’t work now or in the future under the right circumstances.
18 hours ago · Like

Andy Darby There are better ways to conduct a war – even if it takes longer and costs more lives. Women and children are not on the agenda – not for me anyway
18 hours ago · Like

Sherri Skånes My son is a Marine. He left a good paying job to enlist. He wanted to know what kind of a man he could be. Service to others was never an unknown to him….he’s been volunteering along with me for one thing or another since he could walk. He told me that the phrase “a contributing member of society” was stuck in his head. 9/11 affected a whole generation of young men, and he serves along with thousands of other boys that were pissed off that bad guys hurt us and they were too young to help out. The circumstances that lead to his decision were sort of a perfect storm. He’s not a very good infantryman, not because of lack of skill but because he really has no desire to hurt or kill someone who hasn’t hurt or killed us. Yet he swore an oath and stands by his commitment. I pray every day that there is never a circumstance put before him that requires him to be a hero…..because he will step up. He’s just that kind of young man–it’s in every fiber of his being. You can’t stop someone from being their authentic and true self.
13 hours ago · Like

Stephen Dennstedt Dustin, you never answered Andy Darby’s question: Have you ever been to war? We would be interested in the answer.
12 hours ago · Edited · Like

Stephen Dennstedt…/veterans-can-be…/

Veteran’s Can Be Touchy Bastards
Marine CH-46 Sea Knight Helicopter Republic of Vietnam Photo: Courtesy of Marin… See More
12 hours ago · Like · 1 · Remove Preview

Andy Darby Good article Stephen
12 hours ago · Like

Stephen Dennstedt Thank you Andy.
9 hours ago · Like

Dustin E. Putnam I’m curious to hear your “better way” to have conducted the campaign against the Japanese in the Pacific theater, Darby. I’d like to hear your second guessing of Nimitz and MacArthur.

Stephen, my personal life story is irrelevant to the issue at hand just as whether or not I walked on the moon is irrelevant in a discussion of space travel. (I assumed my lack of an answer would have been taken as an answer in itself, that I have no combat experience.)
8 hours ago · Like

Stephen Dennstedt Dustin, I try not to assume. Thank you for your candid answer. Not to push too far, but do you have any military experience?
7 hours ago · Like

Sherri Skånes Stephen….Dustin’s aways good for a good pot stirring on David’s posts. I have come to enjoy his banter even if he isn’t on point…he has a way of getting a debate going with his sometimes contrary shots. But is is usually polite and forthcoming.
6 hours ago · Like · 1

Stephen Dennstedt Just trying to separate the hyperbole from [actual] experience.
4 hours ago · Like

Dustin E. Putnam What hyperbole???

I have zero experience in combat. Feel free to ask me anything. I dont take anything personally.

What does my experience or lack thereof have to with this?

Do you think there was a better way to stop a person like Hitler? Or to found a country like the USA? And do you really expect people with no military experience to remain silent on issues of such magnitude and consequence? And if so do you apply that restrictive standard to all issues and affairs?
3 hours ago · Like

Stephen Dennstedt Lack of military/combat experience certainly doesn’t preclude a person from having an opinion. However, first hand experience frequently provides a unique (and often differing) perspective based on that experience rather than thought. Not knowing your life story, I was simply trying to ascertain the origins of your own particular perspective on the issues of war and armed conflict. There are obviously times when I feel war is necessary, but it’s my personal ‘opinion’ (and experience) that as a nation we too often allow our elected leaders to rush us into conflicts through a false (or warped) sense of patriotism and nationalism (bordering at times on fascism). I would categorize our intrusion into Iraq as one of those times … Vietnam was another (one that I do have personal experience with, and which drastically changed my perspective). I hope that I am not narrow or restrictive in my thinking, but it’s certainly possible. We all filter our thinking and opinions through our own personal experiences and thought processes. I guess that makes us uniquely human.
2 hours ago · Edited · Like · 1

Kevin Hogan What hyperbole??? Dustin, you ARE hyperbole, personified, in your use of exaggerated, dismissive rhetoric and carpet chewing denunciations of practically everything. It’s the option promoted by opinion generating entertainers and resides, IMO, far south of your actual IQ. I think.
2 hours ago · Like

David Dennstedt Dustin I think you make a good point in mentioning Patten, Nimitz, and MacArther. But these generals today are just a bunch of fools in my opinion. Petraeus is a real nitwit. How he ever got to be a general in the first place warrants an investigation. And McChrystal was worse. They threw Petraeus a bone with the CIA director job, and he didn’t even know his emails were being monitored. Something was really wrong with that guy. No wonder the taxpayers got raped in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was not the fault of the troops, It was just bad leadership. If they just admitted that they couldn’t fight a war against an enemy that didn’t wear uniforms, I would have excepted that
2 hours ago · Like

Kevin Hogan Stephen D. – clear, even vaguely compassionate, and reflective reply to Mr. Putnam’s inability to grasp that experience is just about the only thing that forms and maintains personal opinion. I’d like to open up some beers with you guys.
2 hours ago · Unlike · 1

Dustin E. Putnam My bet is that Darby won’t offer input on a “better way,” in his words, to have stopped the Japanese militarists or Hitler or to have founded the USA, because he does not have one. He’s full of nothing but empty rhetoric. No surprise there; his comment…See More
about an hour ago · Like

Stephen Dennstedt Kevin, sounds great … hop a plane to Merida, Yucatan, MX and I’ll stand the first round.
about an hour ago · Like

Stephen Dennstedt Its been fun Dustin, but I’m off to other posts. You win.
about an hour ago · Like

Dustin E. Putnam “Mr. Putnam’s inability to grasp that experience is just about the only thing that forms and maintains personal opinion.”

I’m not arguing opinion, Kevin, I’m observing an objective fact. Darby said war is “always a waste.” But war ended the Nazi gas chambers and Holocaust as well as founded the USA. Those are clear examples that war is not always a waste, that sometimes war is productive.
about an hour ago · Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s