You may not be able to believe this, but it’s a true story ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogger_Bank_incident ).
When the Russo-Japanese War broke out in 1904, Russia’s Baltic Fleet steamed out of St. Petersburg to sail around the world and fight the Japanese. Upon entering the North Sea, the Russians encountered the British fishing fleet. Assuming that the trawlers were the Japanese Navy in disguise, the Baltic Fleet opened fire, doing terrible damage to the defenseless trawlers and shooting up some of its own ships as well. It could have been worse, but the Russian gunnery was atrocious. One Russian battleship fired 500 shells without hitting anything.
Understandably upset, the British closed the Suez Canal, and all their ports around the world, to Russian naval vessels. Having used up so much ammunition shooting up the fishing boats, the Baltic Fleet continued the long way around the world, getting rid of more ammo to stock up on coal from German ships, and arrived in Japanese waters in time to be annihilated by the Japanese Navy, which wasn’t short on ammo.
The lesson? Russia’s fleet and individual vessels were commanded by naval professionals, trained and experienced, who supposedly knew what they were doing. Just like the experts who gave us the Edsel, Heaven’s Gate, and Obamacare supposedly knew what they were doing.
How much unchecked power do we want to give our experts?