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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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Baghdad to Basra

Baghdad to Basra

(p.161) 9 Baghdad to Basra
Democracy's Blameless Leaders

Neil James Mitchell

NYU Press

This chapter discusses how British and American leaders manage unlawful killings. Leaders do not want to accept personal blame for initiating or for failing to prevent wrongful actions. Nor do they normally want to punish an agent, because doing so may affect the loyalty of others. Whether democratic leaders are gripped by a neoconservative agenda, like President George W. Bush, or by an “ethical foreign policy,” like Prime Minister Tony Blair, they will seek public support and the loyalty of officials. A democratic leader is expected to “back his women and men.” Under these pressures, a leader is loath to admit abuse and reluctant to administer punishment.

Keywords:   British leaders, American leaders, blame, neoconservative agenda, George W. Bush, Tony Blair, democratic leader

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