If there is anything that pontiffs, policy analysts and decision-makers need to do it is this: We need to stop conflating radical populist movements whose ideologies call for the destruction of others, and the larger civilian populations that may support and sympathize with these movements for reasons of identity, economy and psychology; reasons that cannot and should not be callously dismissed as illegitimate.
We also need to stop conflating the leading elite of these movements and their rank-and-file. For while the former are responsible for designing the larger vision and policies, the latter are mere implementation tools with little influence over the decision-making processes.
As such, the people who should be held culpable for any atrocities perpetrated by the rank-and-file, and irrespective of any sympathy shown by the larger civilian populations with their emotional outbursts, which come as reflections of irrational fears and deep ignorance, are the architects and decision-makers of these movements, as well as their donors and enablers beyond. Some exceptions to this rule can be made in case of those few eager and ambitious implementers hoping to rise in the ranks. But targeting the civilian populations involved as an act of collective punishment should never be permitted no matter the circumstance or the justification. Collective punishment, genocide and ethnic cleansing are never justified. Never.