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Yep. Wars are not only brutal things, then not only bring out the brutality and inhumanity in everyone they touch, but the line between combat and atrocity tends to be thin and irregular.

But this is not how we judge governments - this is how we judge individuals. Governments are responsible for governance, leadership is demonstrated by maintaining order and discipline, by following orders but also by the legitimacy and honor contained in those orders. The individual is judged by his actions, the leadership by the aggregate actions of those it commands.

Have the Libyan rebels committed murders, rapes, even collective punishment and war crimes. Sure - that's a safe bet. But it's a safe bet because it ALWAYS happens in war, on every side - resulting in a simple exercise of quantitative measurement. Not who did it, but who did it a LOT? I'm sure in 1777 in New York some American revolutionaries shot prisoners, looted goods, raped women and burned crops. But I don't think that is how you would characterize Washington's forces.

We'll find out how the Libyan rebels did in keeping some kind of humanity under the kind of conditions they fought in. But for now, I'm entirely prepared to accept that there were some atrocities they committed, but nothing even close to those that were committed against them...

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