Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Screw Up Tree Analysis

I tend to believe screw ups happen more often than conspiracies. Thus if the inexplicable happens, look for an explanation in multiple screw ups. The screw up tree can help to create a satisfying explanation.

Let me give you an example. Lets assume the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 that crashed in Ukraine was shot down by a guided missile fired by an insurgent. Then there were two proximate screw ups that resulted in the disaster:
  • that insurgent must have screwed up, firing by mistake at a civilian airliner, AND
  • the pilot must has screwed up, flying his commercial flight over a war zone.
However, there would have been more distal screw ups. Why did the insurgent screw up?
  • the person who trained him how to use the missile launcher screwed up, letting im loose when the insurgent still did not know how to avoid using the launchers to shoot down commercial airline flights, AND
  • someone screwed up and approved the delivery of the missiles and launcher to insurgent forces that were not use them well.
Similarly, the pilot (who presumably had the ultimate responsibility for selecting the flight path) screwed up, either because
  • he screwed up and decided on his own to take his flight over a war zone
OR the airline management screwed up:
  • someone in the airline management screwed up and decided that the cost of a longer flight path was not justified to avoid the risk of flying over the Ukrainian war zone, OR
  • someone in the airline screwed up and didn't tell the pilot he was supposed to take a southern path avoiding the Syrian and Ukrainian war zones.
Of course, each of these screw ups would have still more distant screw ups that contributed to the ultimate disaster.

Think how you will amaze your friends providing detailed screw up trees for future disasters.

This is what I got when I used Google image
to search for "screw up tree".
p.s. You will note that contrary to the speaking heads on TV, I will not guess as to what happened in sky over  Ukraine. The intelligence community is suitably cautious in coming to conclusions, and the administration spokespersons are suitably cautious in relaying that intelligence estimate.

I have heard that both the Ukrainians and Russians have missiles and launchers that could have been used to bring down the MH17. Assuming that one or the other was used, then how would the screw up analysis work?
  • If Russians provided the Ukrainian insurgents with the rockets and launcher then someone in Russia screwed up deciding to make the transfer, AND probably someone in the Ukraine screwed up putting the system in the hands of someone who screwed up using it.
  • If the rockets and launcher were obtained from a Ukrainian base, someone screwed up failing to guard them from possible capture by the insurgents, AND probably the guys who captured the rockets and launcher screwed up by putting them in the hands of someone who screwed up using it.

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