Because it is much easier for the mind to disown support for murderous policy (especially given the many coercions within society) than it is for it to disown the design and implementation of murderous policy, leaders often have an even more firm belief in the innate goodness of their country and its actions than that found amongst the jingoistic, reactionary masses.
So, when they follow through with said policy, inevitably kill innocents, and are later forced to admit to their crimes, the response is always that it was a mistake. They claim their intent was noble, pure - they just wanted to help people. They say this not just for the sake of the angry populace, but also for their own. For sanity's sake, they need to believe it just as much as they need others to.
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