In the semi-panic over the advance of Gaddafi's troops it may be good to remember that less than a week ago Libya's rebels rejected negotiations with Gaddafi. As one of their spokesmen said: "The position is there will be no negotiation with this man. He has committed genocide with aeroplanes and tanks.".
If this sounds reasonable to you please consider that this means that they were (and maybe still are) ready to accept hundreds of deaths just to satisfy their sense of justice. Not exactly a sign of great moral leadership. But this may not surprise anyone who knows their egoistic infighting: it took them a week to choose a leader and they still seem hopelessly divided between tribal leaders and advocates of Western style democracy. In this context it is also good to know that Bulgaria has protested France's recognition of he rebels because some in their National Transitional Council were involved with the torture of the Bulgarian nurses. With people like the former justice and interior minister - pillars of the repression - involved there are good reasons to be cautious in our support for the rebels. It may also be good to consider that the real reason for the refusal to negotiate may well have been that they hoped that a military victory would bring them more power.
Of course the same applies to the international leaders too. International outcast Chavez has been the only one to openly advocate negotiations. Among the NGOs there was a similar silence. Only the International Crisis Group asked for negotiations. Most of our "moral leaders" seem to prefer cheap soundbites about "genocide" and "justice" above finding solutions.
I am not against an intervention. But I am in favor of a minimalist approach that keeps the door open for negotiations and aims for more freedom instead of replacing a dictatorship by one tribe with a dictatorship by another.