It’s commonly observed that “The first casualty of war is truth.” That’s not news. The fundamental insight was first observed back about 500 BC, when the Greek dramatist Aeschylus observed that “In war, truth is the first casualty.”
In other words, war does not begin with the first shot, but with the first lie.
Once the war begins, the opposing lies are fired on “full auto”.
So, here’s a video describing the recent Turkish shoot-down of a Russian fighter jet that allegedly strayed into Turkish territory. Maybe the video is telling the truth, maybe not.
Clearly, somebody’s lying. Either the Turks are lying about the Russian jet crossing into Turkish airspace, or the Russians are lying about not crossing into Turkish airspace. I assume that radar or satellite evidence will be produced soon enough to support one side’s claims and refute the other’s.
But, you have to ask yourself, why did the Turks dare to shoot down a Russian fighter that (so far as I know) intruded only barely and briefly into Turkish airspace? Did the Turks believe that the Russian fighter was going to bomb Ankara (the Turkish capitol)? Pending further evidence, I have to assume that a Russian jet in Turkish airspace may be an annoyance or even diplomatic offense, but is that intrusion sufficient reason to shoot down a Russian fighter and provoke a serious international incident–complete with at least one dead Russian pilot?
The following video offers a plausible explanation for why the Turks “really” shot down the Russian jet. Take it all with salt. This explanation may simply be another illustration of the “First Casualty” principle.
However, if the video’s explanation turns out to be basically true, Soviet President Putin is now in a dangerous predicament. He must either accept the loss of his fighter jet as some sort of unfortunate “accident” or he must retaliate against the Turks. If he retaliates against the Turks, the Turks will probably retaliate further against Russia. I have the distinct impression that, despite all of the success Russia has enjoyed in its first attacks against ISIS, Putin may be finding himself in unexpectedly deeper waters and may be wondering if he’s gone (or is about to go) “too far”.
We shall see.