April 27, 2003
How Are We Doing?

(Post, graph, and linked file edited to reflect better data at 0:30 and 1:30 AM on 2/28.)

My Ba'ath Poker chart is now revised: use the second yellow button above to reach it, or click here. (The buttons will likely move to the sidebar, and turn white with blue letters, but not for another day or two.)

I have also constructed a very simple graph to see how the hunt for top Ba'athists is going:

The ticks at the top represent days, from April 9th, when Hussein's statue was toppled in Baghdad, through today, April 27th. The dots represent the rank of each captured individual on the official Central Command Iraqi 55 Most Wanted list. Number 55 was captured on the 12th, and his dot touches the bottom edge. (It must be humiliating to know that he barely made the cut. I wonder if that's why he turned himself in.) The dot for number 1, Saddam himself, would be touching the horizontal line near the top of the graph, if he had been captured or proved dead. Those captured on the same day are joined by vertical lines. The longest of these is for April 23rd, and connects numbers 10, 21, and 48. Clear enough?

I think it's obvious from the graph that the pace of captures is, on the average, steady or perhaps even picking up a bit, while the average rank of those captured is definitely increasing, though they are still predominantly from the bottom half of the list.


  1. Thirteen cards have been captured, and that's a quarter of the deck. Probably more like a third, since some of the others are likely to have been killed or (as has been rumored for 'Comical Ali') killed themselves.
  2. The CentCom rankings do not seem to match entirely well with the card values: for instance, number 18 of 55 should not be Queen of Spades, but a mere Ten. A second chart, assigning position 1 to the Ace of Spades and 52 to the 2 of Diamonds, would also be useful. Since I made this one with nothing more than Microsoft Paint, a steady hand, and a great deal of patience, I can't promise that I will make another.
  3. Whatever the differences in detail, such a chart would likely be broadly similar to this one. Only two face cards have been captured so far, but the first six captured were all in the 4-8 range, while the next seven are in the 6-Q range, with two Queens: again, the ranks are increasing.
  4. The fact that few really 'big fish' have been captured so far is not entirely surprising. Higher-ranking fugitives presumably have more money, more weapons, more and better safe-houses, better access to wigmakers, barbers, and plastic surgeons, and (not least) a better chance of terrifying subordinates and bystanders who might otherwise turn them in. They're also more likely to be dead. I assume Gen. Franks would not call in an airstrike on a restaurant or bunker just because he thought there was a good chance that the 3 of Diamonds and the 2 of Hearts were meeting there. As we know, he has done so twice when Aces were involved.
Posted by Dr. Weevil at April 27, 2003 07:56 PM