,Malaysia, Nicaragua,adultery

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

 

14 Days Before Midterm Elections


It is "the Iraq war", stupid
* Death Tolls - Johns Hopkins Study

Those who took the nation to war on deception and lies are dodging, weaving. and changing the message but nothing seems to be working. The tide has turned. The Democrats, who had meekly fallen in line behind them, are the beneficiaries of the backlash.

Washington Post: "Two weeks before the midterm elections, Republicans are losing the battle for independent voters, who now strongly favor Democrats on Iraq and other major issues facing the country and overwhelmingly prefer to see them take over the House in November, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll."

Soldiers continue to die. Latest casualty numbers: Month of October 88; total 2801. A recently released study by Johns Hopkins University caused an uproar because it mentioned civilian death toll in Iraq to be more than 650,000. Some critics went as far as to say that the release was deliberately timed before the midterm elections ! Well, what is an acceptable number to the critics of the study -- 300,000, 200,000 ? Still high, too high when you consider what lead to their death. Operation Iraqi Freedom -- give us a break. No wonder we are hated.

"In a Sea of Uncertainty, We All Have an Anchor" by Shankar Vedantam in the Post makes interesting reading.





Although the debate over the study has been largely driven by the political implications of the number of Iraqi casualties, psychologists say the fact that many people find the new number hard to digest is a perfect example of anchoring.

Previous estimates had put the number of Iraqi casualties at 30,000 to 50,000. Once that number was anchored in people's minds, it was a foregone conclusion that most people would find it very difficult to accept a much larger number.

"It could be malicious and deliberate or innocent and just wrong, but the fact that the administration had set an anchor is what makes the new number seem implausible," said Max Bazerman, who studies human decision-making at Harvard Business School.

It is important to remember that the psychological phenomenon does not tell you what the correct number of casualties in Iraq really is. But it does say that even if the 650,000 number is accurate, we are likely not to believe it.



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