Military power law: The equations of body counts

US military in Iraq be agreed a pack of playing cards showing Iraq's "most-wanted". In the top place - the ace of spades - was Saddam Hussein. His sons Qusay and Uday were the ace of clubs and the ace of hearts. The meaning was simple: arrest the entire pack, and regime change would be achieved and the war in Iraq won.

It hasn't worked out to be that simple. Fraction of the cause is that in this age of terrorist attacks, insurgencies and "asymmetric" wars flanked by parties of vastly differing firepower, the dynamics of conflicts have shifted irreversibly. At the present mathematicians are starting to build models of how such present-day warfare plays out. Because they do so, they are coming to the conclusion that it is time to rewrite the military rule book.

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