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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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(p.86) 6 Londonderry
Democracy's Blameless Leaders

Neil James Mitchell

NYU Press

This chapter examines the massacre in Londonderry, in which twenty experienced soldiers from an elite regiment of the British Army shot thirteen unarmed British citizens dead and wounded fourteen others. The case suggests that other democratic leaders have been willing to kill civilians. Political analyst Alexander Downes emphasizes that, while killing civilians is antithetical to democratic norms and is often considered a poor strategic move because it hardens resistance, democracies do target civilians in war. They do so for two major reasons: because they are out of options and are desperate to finish a costly war or because they wish to change the demography of a territory and drive out an unwanted or suspect population.

Keywords:   Londonderry, democratic leaders, democratic norms, war, demography, population, civilians

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