Monday, March 20, 2006

Roulette as a Long Term Investment

Betting on individual numbers in roulette is a sure way to lose money unless you manage to get lucky very early and then quit. Under no circumstances is roulette a good retirement investment. It can be fun if you know when to stop, but it has no long-term advantages.

Many opposed to the war in Iraq have been playing roulette and now the ball is bouncing the wrong way for them. Strident accusations that Saddam had nothing to do with terrorism have been standard fare across the media.

That was fine until you realized that there were mounds and mounds of untranslated Baathist documents captured during the war, any one of which might hold the smoking gun showing how Saddam directly supported terrorists.

Ignore for the moment the growing evidence that the smoking gun is actually a battery of smoking 155mm howitzers. What numbskull would have placed their bets against it?

Saddam hated America. He had lots of money. His military routinely fired surface-to-air missiles at coalition aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones in the years prior to the war. He had the motive, the opportunity and the ability to support the terrorists.

If you were a politician, with reams of documents still untranslated, how in the world would you ever think that claiming Saddam had no links to the terrorists was a good long-term investment?

This is not about politics. This is about abject stupidity. Large numbers of our politicians have bet their future on a roulette wheel.

Assume that there are 100,000 documents. Assume they are statistically independent. Assume that the chance that any document does not show that Saddam supported the terrorists was 99.99%. What are the odds that you would be able to make it through the whole pile without finding hard evidence that Saddam was supporting them?

0.9999^100,000 = 0.005%.

In other words, it was 99.995% certain that at least one would contain hard evidence Saddam had supported the terrorists.

This is buying lottery tickets as a long-term investment. This is running across the freeway. This is diving into the ocean in San Diego and swimming to Hawaii. This is stupid.

I would suggest that the discussions that focus on the hatred of Bush might best be refocused on the utter idiocy of these politicians. Bush isn’t running again. The folks who invested in roulette will be.

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