Sunday, May 30, 2004

Fact checking Al Gore

I read through Al Gore's speech and liked a lot of it, but I noticed that he repeated a common misperception about Senator Max Cleland. Gore says he "lost three limbs in combat during the Vietnam War." According to Cleland's campaign manager, the Senator's limbs were lost in an accident, not in combat. As such, Cleland did not receive a Purple Heart.

Captain Cleland did receive a Silver Star, the third-highest valor decoration, along with a list of other medals. I have no doubt he's a hero.

It's easy to think that Gore has heard many others say Cleland lost his limbs in combat and never questioned it. It's easy to think he's not trying to mislead us. Still, other things in Gore's speech made me think to myself, "is that really true?" I hardly have time to check them all.
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