Not to side with the editors of the New York Times, but the piece could have used some re-write:
“Today, 18 months later, violence has fallen by up to 80% to the lowest levels in four years . . .”
“Fallen … up” is a bad construction. This should be “fallen by as much as 80 percent” — the word “percent” always being spelled out in newspaper style, by the way.
Of course, stylistic shortcomings weren’t the source of the NYT editors’ complaint. More likely they didn’t like the stark logic of sentences like this:
“I am also dismayed that he never talks about winning the war — only of ending it. But if we don’t win the war, our enemies will.”
Talk of America “winning the war” and defeating “our enemies”? On the New York Times editorial page? You must be joking.
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