Invasion of Iraq

The invasion of Iraq by US and British troops began on March 20 2003. I had made a formal prediction specifying an 8 hour period surrounding the US official announcent that the war had begun. At 03:15 GMT (10:15 pm the 19th in Washington) US President George W Bush addressed the American nation, saying that coalition forces have begun striking targets of military importance in Iraq. This was arguably the moment identified in my specification made ahead of time about when to expect egg reaction. The first figure below shows the corresponding data, which appear to be completely random, with no trend away from the level expectation. The outcome has Chisquare 28754 with 28800 df and p = 0.575.

A set of independent analyses has been done by Bryan Williams. These look at the same time periods, but use blocked data, and provide a valuable perspective.

Announce Invasion of Iraq

The second figure shows the whole first day. It appears to track the increasingly devastating war activity. The data present a wandering line with a level trend for the first several hours, and then the line takes on a trend, ultimately goind well outside the blue confidence curve. This suggests something is driving the eggs to unusual behavior. One speculative inference is that the concerted information content of huge numbers of minds stretching toward the same feelings and ideas may be the driver. We can imagine that the spreading news, with an increasingly clear understanding that the feared but expected war has truly begun, would engage the focused attention of large numbers of people.

Day 1 Invasion of Iraq

For a bit more context, the next figure shows the first week. There is a strong high-going trend for the first three days, then the cumulative deviation becomes persistently negative for the rest of the week. It is tempting to see the graph as a metaphor for the early optimism expressed by US officials, followed by a progressively more pessimistic tone reflecting realistic assessments of the difficulties, costs, and consequences of this war, which is after all not seen as a "liberation" by the Iraquis.

Week 1 Invasion of Iraq

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