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Monday, July 17, 2006

One-percent Doctrine

Author Ron Suskind in his recent book, "The One Percent Doctrine", helps explain the Bush administration's rationale behind invading Iraq. In a nutshell, the idea has to do with a technique which applies conditional probabilities to rank a risk.
And the Vice President says two things. He says we need to think in a new way about these low probability, high-impact type events, a different way. And then, by the end of the briefing, he has that different way. He says, "If there's even a 1% chance that WMDs have been given to terrorists, we need to treat it as a certainty, not in our analysis or the preponderance of evidence," he demurs, "but in our response." At this moment the Vice President officially separates analysis from action, allows for an evidence-free model to move forward, and says suspicion may be all we have to use the awesome powers of the United States. (from a DemocracyNow! interview)
So BushCo has essentially given a high-risk, low probability event a first-class upgrade. Corporate engineers that do trade studies as part of their job know this trick all too well and can game the system to eventually get what they want by creatively cooking the probability numbers, not to mention playing around with other criteria.

So we know that Cheney understands risk. Consider the remote possibility that he doesn't want to game the result. What then does he do with the risk of a grave potentiality such as global warming? If it turned out as unlikely, it would still rank high because of its huge eventual risk on world society. Why then doesn't BushCo do something about global warming like they did about the low probability WMD's?

Fill in this puzzle:
"invading Iraq is to WMD"
"____ is to global warming" ?

The same question holds true for peak oil and its own significant impact on the global economy.

A rhetorical question, of course, as I could surmise from Suskind's own editorializing: "At this moment the Vice President officially separates analysis from action..." I would read this as separating analysis from reality. No way else to explain their selectively biased criteria for taking on an issue.


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