The phone rang last night. Friends called to say, "Dude, turn on 60 Minutes." CBS was broadcasting an interview with the Commanding Officer of that nuclear sub (USS San Francisco) that ran into an underwater mountain back in January.
What struck me most about the interview was how the Captain accepted complete responsibility for the accident, even tho the Navy had provided him with inaccurate underwater maps, which did not show the mountain, and had plotted his course for him.
It was strange seeing the 60 Minutes correspondent actually *defend* the Captain, when they are typically the ones making the accusations. The 60 Minutes guy says, "But they plotted a course that took you right into that mountain." And the captain responds, "That's right, but the safety of the ship is still ultimately my responsibility."
••• continued •••
But that is the culture in the submarine service. Excuses are not part of the vocabulary. I spent six years in the "Nuclear Navy". And that is the norm: you accept professional responsibility for things that occur "on your watch". It was comforting to see that mind-set had not deteriorated.
Maybe you can understand why it frosts my BVDs to see people like Condoleezza Rice, back when she was the National Security Advisor, stand up and say, "How were we supposed to know terrorists were going to hijack commercial airliners and crash them into the world trade towers?".
I'm thinking, "Duh! The security of the country is your *job*." .. which is beside the point that numerous reports warned of it. And what happened with Condi? Did she get fired? .. like our Commanding Officer? No. She got promoted. Why does the government promote incompetence?
And again with the debacle with ENRON, where Ken Lay (who happens to have a Ph.D. in Economics) stands up and says, "Uh, I didn't know anything wrong was going on." He's the CEO. It's his job to know what's going on in his company. Have they no professional pride? Or maybe that Ph.D. stands for Post hole Digger?
I better quit before I make myself sick. Anyway, it's good to know there are still people out there who aren't afraid to take professional responsibility for what happens on their watch. Heck, I'd vote for that captain if he ran for office.