Video footage of Russian air strikes oddly soothing

Most of the media-related coverage regarding the Russian assistance provided to Syria has boiled down to two topics:

1. Golly, it’s difficult working out who the baddies are in this one.

State Department confused about Syria

And, just this evening:

2. Putin accuses Western media of premature publication:

Reports of alleged casualties among civilians caused by Russian airstrikes in Syria emerged even before Russian warplanes were launched for their first combat mission, President Vladimir Putin said, branding such reports ‘information attacks.’

“Other nations have been bombing Syrian territory for over a year,” Putin told the Russian human rights council on Thursday, stressing that the US-led coalition invades the Syrian airspace with no UN mandate or invitation from Damascus.

“We have such an invitation and we intend to fight against terrorist organizations and them only,” Putin added.

What really grabbed my attention though, for some reason, was how relaxing the videos of the Russian air strikes are to watch.

Nice, isn’t it? Try playing a bit of Enya over the top. It’s like a lava lamp.

You might be thinking “Ah, these nefarious Russkies. Trying to sanatise their war coverage. Don’t they know we invented that game?”

In fact, it’s probably not intentional. The fact is that bombing raids just look nicer as plane-cam technology improves.

This recent footage from the Iraqi Airforce is less good, but still has something of the same hypnotic quality about it:

Compare and contrast this with the shaky black and white footage we got during the US invasion of Afghanistan, for example:

In The Poverty of Historicism, Karl Popper argues that the Marxist view of history as progress is incorrect for various reasons, one of which is the fact that history depends to a large extent upon technical innovation, something which cannot be predicted ahead of time.

This would appear to be a small but not necessarily insignificant example of this phenomena. Imagine if that black and white footage from Afghanistan had been shown to you with no sound and a caption saying that it was footage of a Russian raid on a rebel position in Syria. Would you feel differently about the intervention?

Will war become easier for the public to accept now that the videos coming out of it are that much prettier?


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