Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The "Emboldenment" Effect

There's probably a lesson in this for Jack Layton, Stéphane Dion and other critics of the Canadian mission in Afghanistan:

Are insurgents affected by information on US casualty sensitivity? Using data on attacks and variation in access to international news across Iraqi provinces, we identify an "emboldenment" effect by comparing the rate of insurgent attacks in areas with higher and lower access to information about U.S news after public statements critical of the war. We find in periods after a spike in war-critical statements, insurgent attacks increases by 5-10 percent. The results suggest that insurgent groups respond rationally to expected probability of US withdrawal. As such counterinsurgency should consider deterrence and incapacitation rather than simply search and destroy missions.

h/t: Marginal Revolution

Monday, March 10, 2008

In the service of the oil industry

The standard criticism of Conservative climate change policy is that Harper would never do anything that would hurt the Alberta oil industry. Hope this shuts them up:

Oil sands face tough environmental rules

Mar 10, 2008 04:41 PM

OTTAWA–The federal government is laying out new rules that would force new oil-sands plants to capture and store carbon and would ban the building of dirty, coal-fired power plants.

The bans would be effective as of 2012.