A hot topic on Daily Kos today is the fact that Bob Parsons of GoDaddy (the site registration company that had the bimbo ads running during the last Super Bowl) has posted a vehement rant in support of torture and imprisonment without charges at Guantanamo Bay. After buying into the notion that somehow the War on Iraq had any relation to terrorism at all, he asserts:
Closing Gitmo would be a huge mistake.
It doesnâ€™t take a lot of thought to realize that it would be a huge mistake if we closed Gitmo â€“ most certainly if we did it just to be politically correct with our sworn enemies. I, for one, support what our military has done and is doing there. We canâ€™t lose sight of the fact that we are indeed at war with very vicious people. We need to do whatever it takes (within reason of course, because thatâ€™s the American way) to win this war.
I think he is sorely mistaken about what "the American way" really is. To me the American way is the high road. Historically we've (usually) been the country that has stuck to its moral values and principles in the most dire of circumstances. In World War 2, we defeated the Nazis and the Japanese Emperor without resorting to the concentration camps the Nazis used or the forced labor and torture the Japanese used. We treated our enemies better than they treated us because how we treated them was about who we are, not who they were or what they did.
As a result, they are now two of our staunchest allies and favored trading partners. They completely bought into our world view because we led the way and made it easy for them to follow.
I don't think anyone could claim that Bush and company are leading anywhere that anyone would want to follow.
Another Parsons lowlight:
Interrogation techniques in the Middle East are incredibly brutal.
In the Middle East, itâ€™s not uncommon to use murder, rape, extreme physical torture (like running a drill through a prisonerâ€™s head), electrical shocks to the genitalia, pulling out fingernails, dripping acid on victims, or burning victims with a hot iron or blow torch. Yes, itâ€™s a brutal crowd that weâ€™re at war with over there.
Among the most infamous torture devices in the Middle East is a Syrian inventionâ€”they call it Al-Abd Al-Aswad--The Black Slave. The victim is strapped to a chair with a hole in the center. A red hot poker then rises from the hole and goes into the victimâ€™s rectum. It goes in and out and can go as deep as the intestines. I suspect that Syrian interrogators find out rather quickly whatever it is they want to learn.
In other words, our standards of moral behavior should be lowered to the level of everyone else. He sees American values and morality as a weakness, and to be strong like the terrorists we should take on their practices and embrace their morals. Why do so many wingnuts hate and fear American values so much? To listen to these folks, our shining moments in history were when we as a nation were the most depraved. I'm sure Parsons would have nothing but praise for the genocide against the Native Americans -- it was decisive, without any questions of due process or human dignity mucking up the process.
His praise of Syria is especially interesting. I wonder at the last sentence. Are his suspicions proof? No, but these are the days where those in power only need suspicion in order to take away anyone's human rights.
From what I've heard from the interrogation "experts" from the CIA, FBI and military who've appeared on various programs and in various articles, torture doesn't yield valuable information, because people will tell you whatever you want to hear, not necessarily what's informative or true. I'm more inclined to believe people who've done it than self-appointed experts like Parsons whose familiarity with torture probably started with seeing Reservoir Dogs at the multiplex.
Anyway, it's quite an astounding piece of unreasoning justification for bloodthirstiness and warmongering -- especially for the CEO of a major internet company. It's especially astonishing that he feels the need to promote this knee-jerk right-wing appeal for fascism on the front page of GoDaddy. He can say what he wants. This is America, after all. But it's interesting that someone would want to tie their business so closely to their personal political views.
The response on Daily Kos has been loud and clear: people are cancelling accounts with GoDaddy and moving their domain registrations elsewhere. That's also a tried and true American tradition. You do business with whom you want.
Me, I had stopped using GoDaddy when they refused to honor an advertised discount on a transaction I made with them. It was a matter of 4 bucks, but their response told me that they really didn't give a damn about me, the customer. So I went elsewhere. Such is life in a free market.
[UPDATE 10:15 EDT: Apparently he's modified his original post to remove some of the more incindiary and idiotic assertions. I did not make a copy, so I have no way of knowing, but it's apparently been noticed by a few people.]
[UPDATE 2 10:25 EDT: It seems that Mr. Parsons has put up a new post that retracts some of his prior assertions. I have to give him credit for being open to the observation that torture does not yield results. He's still digging in his heels as to whether what US personnel have been doing actually constitutes torture, but at least he's listened to some reason, which is more than we can say about many of the wingnutty butterbrains out there. Isn't it amazing how low our expectations are that it's almost a delight when those of the hate-o-sphere actually use a little reason! Thanks to tunesmith at DKos for posting this.]
[UPDATE 3 10:43 EDT: Okay, now it's seeming that his online words are a moving target. Maybe Mr. Parsons should read a little Rebecca Blood's guide on blogging ethics:
3. Publicly correct any misinformation.
If you find that you have linked to a story that was untrue, make a note of it and link to a more accurate report. If one of your own statements proves to be inaccurate, note your misstatement and the truth. Ideally, these corrections would appear in the most current version of your weblog and as an added note to the original entry. (Remember that search engines will pull up entries without regard to when they were posted; once an entry exists in your archives, it may continue to spread an untruth even if you corrected the information a few days later.) If you aren't willing to add a correction to previous entries, at least note it in a later post....
4. Post deliberately. If you invest each entry with intent, you will ensure your personal and professional integrity.
Changing or deleting entries destroys the integrity of the network. The Web is designed to be connected; indeed, the weblog permalink is an invitation for others to link. Anyone who comments on or cites a document on the Web relies on that document (or entry) to remain unchanged. A prominent addendum is the preferred way to correct any information anywhere on the Web. If an addendum is impractical, as in the case of an essay that contains numerous inaccuracies, changes must be noted with the date and a brief description of the nature of the change.
Anyway...'nuff said on this bit of wingnuttery.]