Collateral damage in a war without winners

By Jack Waterford
Updated April 23 2018 - 10:57pm, first published July 22 2014 - 8:29pm

When American sailors making split-second decisions about an aircraft that seemed to be attacking them fired a missile and brought it down, a subsequent searching US Defence Department investigation spoke of ''scenario fulfilment'' causing the fatal misjudgment. Scenario fulfillment occurs in highly trained and regimented organisations that have practised particular drills and simulations over and over, until responses to a particular scenario become automatic. So powerful are the reflex procedures that those in them will sometimes ignore or misinterpret information before the eyes that contradicts the scenario. Such as the fact that the aircraft approaching is an airliner, not a fighter plane, and is ascending, not descending.

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