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« This plane ends up in the most unusual places | Main | John Rich, who is ‘Shuttin’ Detroit Down’? »

February 22, 2009



I've seen comments to the effect that the analysis is incorrect.

One simple issue .. bin Laden has kidney failure is said to be a myth.

jj mollo

It's just blather. Haider otoh sounds like he knows what he's talking about. IMO, Gillespie is simply using the wrong model. Bin Laden is a dynamically interacting agent. He is not a flock of birds. The right model would involve a significant component of game theory. Bin Laden has the mentality of an engineer as much as a religious thinker. He was smart enough to get out of Tora Bora and he is not underestimating his enemy.

I would imagine that the game theoretic approach is for OBL to map out his enemy's presumed probability distribution for his position and then select his own location randomly from the inverse of that distribution. Since he can't know his enemy's actual map for sure, he might as well blend in a utility function based on covert friendship links, logistical deception potential, disguised escape routes -- anything we are unlikely to know about. Still, he has to keep it random. (I know football coaches don't work this way, but presumably he's a little smarter. Too bad he didn't decide to be a football coach.)

Bin Laden knows that his chief value is as a symbol. His only goal at the present is to deny us the victory of killing or capturing him. He does not require any more logistical support than the average Yemeni religious fanatic, engineer or not. And you're not going to track him down from the logistics. You might get him from his buddy system, though. There may be things we know that he doesn't know we know.

Frank Warner

I have to point again to Bernardo "The Tractor" Provenzano, the Sicilian mob boss whom police sought for 43 years before finding him three years ago, right where everyone always said he was.

He was just outside the village of Corleone, alone in a farmhouse, wearing a T-shirt and jeans.

There's a village in northwestern Pakistan where, I'm sure, everyone knows Osama.

jj mollo

I'll bet he's not wearing T-shirt and jeans.

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