What do you choose to focus on? According to the book, In
Harms Way, the US Navy chose to focus on the blame after
the sinking of the USS Indianapolis at the end of WWII.
Navy procedures at the time not only failed to help, but
hindered actions the crew could have taken to prevent
hundreds of sailor deaths. A small portion of the sailors
survived the tragic five-day wait that was unnecessarily
long . The Captain's trial was the most striking situation
after the ordeal. The Navy's prosecutors sidestepped
the types of questions which would have allowed the
Captain McVay's defense to discuss Navy procedures.
In Navy court, discussion can only relate to a specific
charge. The Navy procedures effect in this tragedy thus
was never addressed. Almost no debrief or trial time was
found to remedy the procedures as the Captain was found
guilty of neglect. The trial resulted with minimal output
which might prevent risking lives of future crews or have
helped other Captains. Incidentally, indications were that
no trial was needed for the Captain to bear the guilt. No
one could make him feel more guilty than he already did.
See this as another example of how focusing on blaming
things can blind us. We imagine the unalterable past
differently, and fail to focus on the present and future.