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Can Statistics Predict the Outcome of a War? 572

StatisticallyDeadGuy writes "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 poor 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 26%. Full elaboration of the forecasting methodology is laid out in a new paper (subscription required — link goes to the abstract). Some details can be gleaned from her 2006 draft (PDF)."

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