Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Seizing Straws

This from MSNBC's Bagdad diary--the major is mainly concerned with the importance of superstition, but includes this bit of news:
"Route Irish, according to this threat-briefing, which represents our best guess at the situation before we locked and loaded and headed down the trail, has not been seriously hit in weeks. That was news. Some rifle and light machine-gun fire, sure, but nothing heavy. No Rocket-Propelled Grenades, no VBIEDs, not even any IEDs…nothing, for weeks. Things have changed on that road. An Iraqi brigade is sitting there on both sides of the highway, and they have taken some hits, to be sure. But the Iraqis made the road safer than I have known it to be before."
Of course, my picking up on this is akin to the major's superstition--we both latch onto one bit of information and ride the hell out of it (his superstition was that no vehicle in which a particular piece of music was playing has ever (in his experience) been hit). That's a human habit that may have saved us from lions in the bushes but doesn't always serve us well, particularly now when there are so many pieces of information available.

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