Even in just revolutions, no one really walks away with clean hands 

The problem with wars is that they're bloody affairs where innocent bystanders often end up as victims.

The problem is compounded by a civil war where often an excess of revolutionary zeal and lack of resources override the call for due process and fair treatment. Such is the case happening in Libya where it appears that the rebels are now instituting some of the same measures used by Gaddafi against suspected government loyalists.

The L.A.Times is reporting that Libyan rebels have begun searching through cities they occupy for suspected Gaddafi loyalists, beating them and placing them in the same rundown and human-waste encrusted jails that Gaddafi was famous for using. Once a person is charged with being a loyalist, there appears to be little they can do to escape punishment.

Several of the prisoners have asserted their innocence. Many claim that they are actually workers who have never had anything to do with Gaddafi. Several of the people rounded up appear to be immigrant workers.

Abdelhafed Ghoga, the chief opposition spokesman, seemed unworried about the possibility that the people who are detained by the rebels could be innocent. “We know who they are,” Ghoga has said.

This is just the beginning of the conflict too. As the civil war continues to drag out, and tempers flair on both sides, there is a greater likelihood of further acts of violence.

The abuse doesn't even have to come from malice or hate against the enemy. It can also come from a simple prioritization of resources. When fighting a war as the rebels find themselves in -- outmanned and outgunned -- there is a simple lack of time and manpower to ensure proper court structures and decent treatment of prisoners.

This is the problem when it comes to revolutions, and another reason why the U.S. should not be so quick to jump into the internal matters of other nations. When fierce passions and and bitter conflicts meet, often the violence goes overboard, even from the putative good guys.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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