Alex at Harvard is the winner in yesterday’s Fact Check Will Saleten Contest.
If you’ll recall, the challenge was to find as many factual and logical errors in this lede graf from Monday’s column:
Jordan. Turkey. Germany. England. Henry Kissinger. Brent Scowcroft. Dick Armey. Republican senators. The State Department. American military officers. The circle of governments, officials, and advisers openly critical of President Bush’s Iraqi war plans draws ever closer to Bush and his family. Bush argues that his case for war is persuasive and that if he leads, others will follow. But increasingly, he is making that argument to a circle of would-be allies who are unpersuaded and aren’t following. He is proving himself wrong.
Here’s Alex’s winning entry:
Mistakes #1-4: Jordan, Turkey, Germany and England are countries and can’t have an opinion; he does later imply that he was talking about governments, but the opening is misleading. Furthermore, (#5) even England’s government isn’t against a war against Iraq.
#6: Kissinger doesn’t actually oppose an Iraq war; he just has reservations. That’s a common misunderstanding.
#7-8: Republican senators and American military officers is vague; it could
mean anything between 2 and all of them. Simply saying that there are more than one of either is hardly persuasive.
#9: It’s paradoxical for the State Department to be critical of Bush’s foreign
policy, since they are essentially Bush’s foreign policy department.
#10: These people who oppose the war are disjointed and certainly not
#11: This ‘circle’ isn’t really getting any closer to Bush, especially in the
#12: Bush’s family has nothing whatsoever to do with this; (maybe a tenuous connection can be made to his father, but not the rest of his family).
#13: There is a faulty assumption that Bush needs others to follow if he is to win the war.
#14: Bush’s argument doesn’t assert that the allies will follow his argument; he believes they will follow his actions. Therefore, until American troops actually begin major action in Iraq, we won’t know if the allies will follow. That they aren’t listening now is totally irrelevant.
Wow! Fourteen mistakes in a 82-word pargraph. That’s a mistake for less than every six words. Quite some acheivement there, Mr. Saleten — a personal best?
Now, if Alex will kindly send me his mailing information in a private email, I’ll happily send him his handsome VodkaPundit coffee mug.