Cover image for The new killing fields : massacre and the politics of intervention
The new killing fields : massacre and the politics of intervention
Mills, Nicolaus.
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
xi, 276 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6322.7 .N49 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The New Killing Fields revisits Cambodia, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and East Timor-sites of four of the worst instances of state-sponsored killing in the last half of the twentieth century-in order to reconsider the success and failure of U.S. and U.N. military and humanitarian intervention.Through original essays and reporting by, among others, David Rieff, Peter Maass, Philip Gourevitch, William Shawcross, George Packer, Bill Berkeley, and Samantha Power, The New Killing Fields reaches beyond headlines to ask vital questions about the future of peacekeeping in the next century. In addition, theoretical essays by Michael Walzer and Michael Ignatieff frame the issue of both past and future intervention in terms of today's post-Cold War reality. As human rights abuses increasingly occur in "failed states" such as Afghanistan, which pose international security threats, the future of human rights will not be, as it once was, considered solely a question of the beneficence and charity of the West. The prominent group of reporters and academics assembled here ponder these questions in light of their extensive experience, and reveal a fascinating set of conclusions, and further questions, about the future of human rights in the next century.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This compilation of 14 essays focuses on three of the world's bloodiest killing zones in the 1990s: Yugoslavia, Rwanda and East Timor. In a fascinating prefatory essay, editor Mills (The Triumph of Meanness: America's War Against Its Better Self) draws on such writers as Joseph Conrad and Primo Levi in tracing the evolution of the language of slaughter. Mills shows how writing about mass atrocities became more and more concrete, spare and factual as the scale of the killings increased over the last century. The writers examining Yugoslavia, Rwanda and East Timor share in that same literary tradition. Their essays are strong on factual presentation but restrained in moralizing. For each of the three killing zones under study, the editors include discussion of what has happened since the murders stopped. Of particular interest are the efforts in Rwanda and East Timor to create mechanisms for administering justice to those accused of crimes against humanity, generally modeled on South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The contributors to this volume-including Michael Walzer, William Shawcross and David Rieff-generally advocate intervention by the West whenever mass atrocities occur in places where Western pressure and even military action is possible (although the authors recognize that military force is not always the first or only resort). Given the frequency of anarchic mass slaughter in the 1990s, more such atrocities will likely occur in the decades ahead. Close observation and analysis of the kind demonstrated in this book will be essential to forming the nation's and the world's response. (Oct. 1) Forecast: This will appeal to readers of Samantha Power's A Problem from Hell and David Rieff's Slaughterhouse. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

These 14 original essays by prominent reporters and academics focus on the behavior of the US and its allies in the face of state-sponsored genocides in Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and East Timor. The first three essays address the need for accountability--the responsibility to stop mass murders through humanitarian intervention and bring perpetrators to justice. Each cluster of essays on Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and East Timor are prefaced by brief firsthand accounts by victims "bearing witness" to the atrocities. The tragic consequences of nonintervention are outlined in the essays on Yugoslavia, where the Powell doctrine of using overwhelming force was a factor in hindering small-scale military intervention to stop the killings in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo. Three essays focus on the calamitous Rwandan genocide in which 800,500 people were lost to low-tech killings in less than three months. Chapters on East Timor discuss the atrocities and forced evacuations by Indonesian soldiers and militia bands, stopped only by the UN intervention. The last two authors make a strong case for US-Western intervention, urging citizens to pressure politicians into action. This is a compelling book for general readers, scholars and especially US politicians contemplating nonhumanitarian military intervention in Iraq. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels. R. H. Dekmejian University of Southern California

Table of Contents

Nicolaus MillsNicolaus MillsMichael WalzerWilliam ShawcrossLejla SabicDavid RieffPeter MaassKira BrunnerBernardine NiyiroraBill BerkeleyDarryl LiGeorge PackerFilomena SuaresGeoffrey RobinsonRichard Lloyd ParryErin TrowbridgeMichael IgnatieffSamantha Power
Prefacep. ix
Part 1 Accountability
1 The Language of Slaughterp. 3
2 Arguing for Humanitarian Interventionp. 19
3 Lessons of Cambodiap. 37
Part 2 Yugoslavia
Bearing Witnessp. 53
4 Murder in the Neighborhoodp. 55
5 Paying for the Powell Doctrinep. 71
6 A Drive to Globarep. 89
Part 3 Rwanda
Bearing Witnessp. 101
7 Road to a Genocidep. 103
8 Echoes of Violencep. 117
9 Justice on a Hillp. 129
Part 4 East Timor
Bearing Witnessp. 157
10 "If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die"p. 159
11 The Shark Cagep. 185
12 Back Road Reckoningp. 207
Part 5 No Longer Bystanders
13 Intervention and State Failurep. 229
14 Raising the Cost of Genocidep. 245
Acknowledgementsp. 265
Indexp. 266
About the Contributorsp. 274