All you can hear are the lies
Mail on Sunday column
I AM the opposite of a war junkie. I loathe the sound of fireworks because they remind me of a bloody night in Lithuania in January 1991, where I lay down in dirty snow to save my skin from Soviet bullets. I was also frozen with fright in lawless, gang-ruled Mogadishu in December 1992, waiting for US marines to arrive.
In Bucharest at Christmas 1989, I crawled under the bed as tracer fire whizzed past my hotel-room window, and – because my long-delayed call home came through just then – I dictated my account of events to my wife. No heroics for me, thanks.
I was in all these dreadful places by accident. I never meant to be there. I take great care not to get caught in such things again. But I learned a bit from it, mostly that the old cliche ‘the first casualty of war is truth’ is absolutely right, and should be displayed in letters of fire over every TV and newspaper report of conflict, for ever.
Almost nothing can be checked.