The gross atrocities committed by the Qaddafi regime against protesters in Libya are of a kind demanding outside intervention. The Arab revolt for democracy now also needs protection from war crimes.
Now instead of simply siding with Arabs or Iranians seeking freedom, the world must also try to deter cornered dictators from committing mass atrocities.
In Libya, Muammar Qaddafi reacted far more harshly than his counterparts in Tunisia and Egypt did to the popular Arab demands for liberty. He unleashed fighter jets and machine guns against his opponents.
Several of Mr. Qaddafi’s own ambassadors quit in disgust, warning of genocide and triggering the United Nations Security Council to weigh taking action. And indeed, if the Arab revolt continues in many Middle East countries, the world must be prepared to prevent extreme violence. It should take a decisive stand now in the case of the extreme cruelty committed in Libya.