Saturday, July 14, 2007

Can Statistics Predict the Outcome of a War?

A University of Georgia scientist has developed a statistical system that can, she claims, predict the outcome of wars with an accuracy of 80 percent. Her approach, applied retrospectively, says the US chance of victory in the first Gulf War was 93%, while the Soviets only had a 7% chance in Afghanistan (if only they'd known; failure maybe triggered the collapse of the USSR). As for the current Iraq conflict: the US started off with a 70% chance of a successful regime change, which was duly achieved — but extending the mission past this to support a weak government has dropped the probability of ultimate success to

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