Friday, March 6, 2009


Last December, a Marine fighter jet crash-landed in a San Diego neighborhood. The pilot ejected safely, but his jet plowed into a home where it killed four members of a single family. The surviving member of that family (the father, who was at work at the time) humbled all of us here with his immediate and very public forgiving of the pilot.

The Marines launched an investigation. Yesterday they made the results public, and those results surprised just about everybody – they called the crash “avoidable” and held those responsible fully accountable. Some careers are over, and a very clear message has been sent to other Marines. Peggy Noonan (WSJ) has the best writeup I've seen, including this summary:
This wasn't damage control, it was taking honest responsibility. And as such, in any modern American institution, it was stunning.
Stunning, indeed. And so refreshing, coming during the massive finger-pointing exercise accompanying the financial crisis.

I wish the Marines were in charge of that!