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Democracy's Blameless LeadersFrom Dresden to Abu Ghraib, How Leaders Evade Accountability for Abuse, Atrocity, and Killing$
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Neil James Mitchell

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814761441

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814761441.001.0001

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Evading Accountability

Evading Accountability

(p.27) 3 Evading Accountability
Democracy's Blameless Leaders

Neil James Mitchell

NYU Press

This chapter discusses how techniques of evading blame are suggested by the components of accountability. For instance, in democracies, lines of accountability run from government leaders to legislatures and to voters in more or less complex patterns. Meanwhile, the relative simplicity of parliamentary models of accountability offers a contrast with the more complex presidential model. Given these components of accountability, it follows that evading accountability can be achieved in three ways. First, it can be evaded by manipulating the flow of information about events, actions, and policies. Second, it can be evaded by manipulating the standards used for evaluating the action or policy. Third, it can be evaded by manipulating the consequences for wrongdoing.

Keywords:   blame evasion, accountability, government leaders, legislatures, voters, parliamentary, information, policy

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