Saturday, April 05, 2003
This war's nowhere near over yet, apparently.
A statistical analysis of key factors in wars fought over the past nearly 200 years indicates that the Iraqi war will last 2 to 10 months, according to a Penn State political scientist.
"While the media have given frenzied coverage to the short-term ups and downs of the still-early war with Iraq, history would never have suggested that the war would be as short as some pundits predicted," says Dr. D. Scott Bennett, associate professor of political science. "Rather, history reveals that half of the wars fought since 1816 have lasted more than five months, with the average length of a war being 17 months.
"Wars are rarely as short as the media wanted to make this war out to be in its first days," Bennett notes. "A longer-term perspective uggests that the odds always favored a significantly more protracted war. In the absence of other stories to cover, many media outlets have chosen to portray every advance and setback as a major indicator of what the future holds. In forecasting the length of Operation Iraqi Freedom, we would do better to look back at other conflicts and compare government types, respective strengths of both sides, battlefield terrain, opposing strategies and other variables."