Daniel Kahneman

“I soon had an occasion to apply what I had learned from Feller. The Yom Kippur War broke out in 1973, and my only significant contribution to the war effort was to advise high officers in the Israeli Air Force to stop an investigation. The air war initially went quite badly for Israel, because of the unexpectedly good performance of Egyptian ground-to-air missiles. Losses were high, and they appeared to be unevenly distributed. I was told of two squadrons flying from the same base, one of which had lost four planes while the other had lost none. An inquiry was initiated in the hope of learning what it was that the unfortunate squadron was doing wrong. There was no prior reason to believe that one of the squadrons was more effective than the other, and no operational differences were found, but of course the lives of the pilots differed in many random ways, including, as I recall, how often they went home between missions and something about the conduct of debriefings. My advice was that the command should accept that the different outcomes were due to blind luck, and that the interviewing of the pilots should stop. I reasoned that luck was the most likely answer, that a random search for a nonobvious cause was hopeless, and that in the meantime the pilots in the squadron that had sustained losses did not need the extra burden of being made to feel that they and their dead friends were at fault.”

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow
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Thinking, Fast and Slow Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
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