In computing, WYSIWYG is an acronym for What You See Is What You Get, a system in which software allows content to be edited in a form that resembles its appearance, no coding required. When making a purchase, What You See Is What You Get means that what you see included with the product you’re looking at is what you’ll get if you buy it. In politics and war, What You See Is What You Get means something else entirely. You can only get—or understand—what’s happening if you can see it clearly, and not through a distortion field created by those working to indoctrinate you with an alternate reality. What the free world is seeing in Ukraine is clear: an unprovoked, indiscriminate attack on innocent civilians. What we’re seeing are stories like the tragedy of Serhiy Perebyinis’ family. “Serhiy and Tetiana Perebyinis owned a Chevrolet minivan. They shared a country home with friends, and Ms. Perebyinis was a dedicated gardener and an avid skier. She had just returned from a ski trip to Georgia. And then, late last month, Russia invaded Ukraine, and the fighting quickly moved toward Kyiv. It wasn’t long before artillery shells were crashing into their neighborhood. One night, a shell hit their building, prompting Ms. Perebyinis and the children to move to the basement. Finally, with her husband away in eastern Ukraine tending to his ailing mother, Ms. Perebyinis decided it was time to take her children and run. They didn’t make it.” NYT (Gift Article): They Died by a Bridge in Ukraine. This Is Their Story. Innocent civilians killed as they’re running for their lives. We see it. We get it. The same is not true for many of those living in Russia or other places with limited access to accurate information. “In Russia’s version of the war, Russians are liberators, Ukrainians are Nazis, and the West is full of mendacious hypocrites. To turn on Russian TV news is to enter a parallel universe, one where even the word war is forbidden.” Olga Khazan in The Atlantic: I Watched Russian TV So You Don’t Have To.

We’ve seen this battle over reality play out in several ways, such as companies like Twitter unveiling a version of its site that can bypass Russia’s block. Most astonishingly, we’ve seen efforts by the Biden administration to pierce Putin’s lie bubble by releasing classified information about the lies he plans to tell about what’s provoking his nefarious violence. Essentially, America has taken up the strategy of firing preemptive truth bombs. The UK’s Boris Johnson is doing the same when it comes to Putin’s invented pretext to potentially use chemical weapons. The Russians “start saying that there are chemical weapons that have been stored by their opponents or by the Americans, and so when they themselves deploy chemical weapons, as I fear they may, they have a sort of fake story, ready to go.” Sadly, these truth bombs don’t reach everyone and they don’t stop the real ones being dropped on civilians. No one knows about these life and death battles better than Serhiy Perebyinis. After the death of his family, he fled to Poland via a border where he was questioned by Russian guards. He told them: “My whole family died in what you call a special operation and we call a war. You can do what you want with me. I have nothing left to lose.” For Serhiy and so many Ukrainians, the truth is all too real.