December 12, 2010

What do you choose to focus on?

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.

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