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There is substantial evidence that the fear of domestic disruption has inhibited murderous plans. On…

There is substantial evidence that the fear of domestic disruption has inhibited murderous plans. One documented case concerns Vietnam. The Joint Chiefs of Staff recognized the need that ‘sufficient forces would still be available for civil disorder control.’ if they sent troops to Vietnam after the Tet Offensive, and Pentagon officials feared that escalation might lead to massive civil disobedience, in view of the large-scale popular opposition to the war, running the risk of ‘provoking a domestic crisis of unprecented proportions.’ A review of the internal documents released in the Pentagon Papers shows that considerations of cost were the sole factor inhibiting planners, a fact that should be noted by citizens concerned to restrain the violence of the state. In such cases as these, and many others, popular demonstrations and civil disobedience may, under appropriate circumstances, encourage others to undertake a broader range of conventional action by extending the range of the thinkable, and where there is real popular understanding of the legitimacy of direct action to confront institutional violence, may serve as a catalyst to constructive organization and action that will pave the way to more fundamental change

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