I like the way John Seavey of Mighty God King thinks in this essay titled "A Half-Hearted Defense of the 'Star Wars' Prequels":
On the one hand, I’m not crazy enough to say that the “Star Wars” prequels are good. There’s some rough sailing there, for a variety of reasons: Lucas hadn’t directed a film in a long time, his scripts were less polished due to a lack of a strong editor…and the less said about Jar-Jar, the better. But there’s a very strong theme that tends to get lost or misinterpreted, and it’s actually pretty impressively clever–but it requires letting go of one of the big assumptions the classic trilogy gave us. You have to be willing to understand that while the Sith are the villains of the series, the Jedi are the other villains of the series.
That sounds about right to me. I got the feeling throughout the various "Star Wars" properties that the actual people of the realm were all viewed basically as cardboard pawns for the mighty to manipulate, whether Sith or Jedi. Re-watching the original film the other day, I was struck by how distant Obi-Wan was, how emotionally detached. Granted, that was likely equal parts poor direction from Lucas and disinterest from a slumming Alec Guiness, but he still never seemed to care all that much about the beings around him except as they fit into his conception of destiny.
Think about it, what is Obi-Wan's final act? To disappear.
I know, that's not perfectly fair, he did stick around as sort of super-powered Caspar the Friendly Ghost, but the principle is the same -- the Jedi spend all of their training trying to learn how not to have emotions. And that's just as scary in its way as the Sith learning to revel in their darkest ones.
In any event, give MGK a read when you have a minute, I definitely liked this article. And let us know what you think about the issues it raises.