Monday, April 11, 2005

If you can't kill them, give them jobs

Programs where people trade in their guns to get something nifty usually strike me as more symbolic than practical. But when it's longtime Palestinian militants trading in their guns for jobs, the symbolism may be strong enough to have genuine practical value. I'm sure that these guys have plenty of cred in their world, and it'll be a sign to everybody that it's time to build Palestine through peace rather than war.

So you might be thinking: What's going to happen if a bunch of crazy militants are running the Palestinian government? Is this really a good thing? Well, one of the coolest terrorism-related stories I've ever read involves how the PLO shut down its own Black September terrorist movement in the 1970s by setting up all the terrorists with wives, children, and jobs. (I have it linked here on some kind of hippie site, but it originally was in the Atlantic Monthly.) Eventually the terrorists stopped being bloodthirsty killers and started being boring dads. I see Abbas' proposal as an attempt to further boring-dadification in Palestine, and that's definitely a good thing.

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