given a taste of power, thats what everyone eventually does. (no it isn't one of those supposedly profound thoughts i have on occasion, rather this was told to me by an intelligent friend, so you have it on good authority).
i refer here to the recent victory of hamas (a terrorist organisation specialising in suicide bombings) in the parliamentary elections in palestine. from what i hear they actually have a charter that spells out their numero uno raison d'etre to be the destruction of the israeli state. now that they have won and become respectable politicians they have agreed to having discussions with the very same israeli state they were sworn to destroy. a dramatic softening of stance, if ever.
i wouldn't know but by looking at the trends it would certainly appear that its easier to be a terrorist than a politician. for instance, take our very own naxalites or the insurgents in the north-east. while they live the glamourous life of the revolutionary they're radical, then democracy tames the best of them.
its brilliant, what better way to make the terrorists irrelevant than to have them run for elections. they're damned if they do and damned if they don't. if they lose, then they can't claim to have a popular base. if they win, then they must govern. which is a tad more difficult than having to scream, shout and go to war about injustice because now they must do the dirty work.
in one swift act the uber cool, awe inspiring terrorist is reduced to a mundane politician. in keeping with his updated job profile, he will do what every political animal must in order to hang on to the intoxicating power he has just experienced. not to mention the travails of the seat of power, which only gets worse if the guy is unlucky enough to be caught in the whirlpool of coalition politics.
there's something particularly decisive about launching a squad of suicide bombers into the streets that just can't be matched by having cabinet level meetings with the opposition. even their designations don't have the same effect any more, who wouldn't prefer being called supreme commander rather than defense secretary.
accountability is also a bit rough on these guys. earlier one had to answer to a guy in a cave somewhere in the ravines of the khyber pass. cut to the present, and the same chap must now answer to the official media while shaking a lot of civilian hands and kissing many babies to ensure re-election.
more power to the ballot!