All Which Remains Lies Here: Mass Violence as a Strategy of War

Open Access
Morton, Erin Kathleen
Area of Honors:
International Politics
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Douglas William Lemke, Thesis Supervisor
  • Gretchen G Casper, Honors Advisor
  • Violence
  • Genocide
  • Strategy
  • Cambodia
  • East Timor
The most heinous policies and unbelievable brutal tactics of governments have, for decades, been considered anomalies in the course of human history. Genocide, politicide, and mass murder – all of these and more are stains on human history. But these events are not aberrations, nor are they without their own terrible logic. Violence is a strategic choice, aimed to deter or eliminate a threat when enough information is present to act. Two cases in which the weapon chosen was violence against a civilian population, Cambodia and East Timor, demonstrate the chilling rationale behind selectively removing rebel leaders and removing civilians without consideration of affiliation. Ultimately, the decision to use violence against a population rests on how strongly the government is opposed. Violence is a strategy; an understanding of how and when it is deployed may someday lead to intervention, prevention, and eventually elimination of mass murder.