Tuesday, October 04, 2005

How many number 2 leaders?

I had decided not to make a habit of commenting on illogic in the letters to the editors, at least of publications for the general public, such as newspapers; I would have to spend too much time writing about them, and any readers of this blog would be likely to see most of the fallacies themselves. But being a mathematician, I can't resist those which involve a misunderstanding or misuse of math, of which there have been several recently.

Several people have commented on the fact that there have been several reports by the U.S. government that the "number 2 Al-Qaida leader" has been killed or captured. In fact, Mike Luckovich had a cartoon making fun of it Sun., Oct. 2, 2005. Well, I don't know whether the claims that these people were all the no. 2 leaders were accurate, but they are not illogical. As soon as we get rid of the current no. 2 leader, someone else will take his place, as long as there are at least 2 Al-Quda members.

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