Today the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad told the Turkish Cumhuriyet newspaper that he totally regrets shooting down the warplane. But really, what does regret mean to a dictator like al-Assad?  "I say 100 percent, I wish we did not shoot it down," Assad told the paper (which was translated by The New York Times), adding that his gunmen thought the war plane was Israeli. How, exactly, that makes it better is beyond us.

We're not really sure if Assad is more sorry for shooting down the F-4 fighter jet and its two (still missing) pilots, or if he's more concerned with the fallout that came from shooting down the plane: Turkey's mobilization of antiaircraft weapons to its Syrian border, the threats of military response, and the further sullying of his regime. But judging by the (very few) times the Assad regime has expressed "regret" in the past--over the deaths of anti-Assad protesters, and "regretting" the violence that the forced the Arab League to halt its peace plan monitoring mission in January--it's hard to imagine he feels that bad.