Ann made the following statement on "The Factor":
ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "HOW TO TALK TO A LIBERAL (IF YOU MUST)": I think I was amazingly prescient a year ago when I said things were going well. I mean, since then we've had a free election in Iraq in which women voted, Shia, Sunni. They're working on a constitution. We had a free election in this country. In the last six months we've killed or captured about 50,000 insurgents. LINK
This sounded amazing so I did a little research and found that once again, Ann got her facts wrong:
Q General Conway, General Jack Keane, the former vice chief of the Army has apparently just come back from Iraq. And he has said at a luncheon yesterday that U.S. forces had either captured or killed some 50,000 insurgents so far this year. Is that number accurate? Can you tell us how many were captured or how many were killed? And whether or not -- you know, what that says about the size of the insurgency?
GEN. CONWAY: I just saw the article this morning, and I accept the fact that General Keane has been in-country certainly since I have. I can't speak to his source of the figures. I can tell you that we don't keep that metric here. So I'm afraid I can't confirm or deny the accuracy of those figures.
Q Well, I mean -- U.S. forces are constantly rolling up -- and Iraqi forces are rolling up suspected insurgents. Some are held, some are released. Do you not -- can either one of you give us any idea of how many are being held now, and does the numbers seem reasonable? And setting the number aside for a moment, what does it say about the size of the insurgency if there have been numbers in that range?
MR. DI RITA: Well, you know, it's something that commanders have been asked on many occasions. I think the secretary has certainly been asked it. It's an interesting thing to understand, you know, what's the size of the adversary that we're facing. And the estimates have ranged from a few thousand on the low end to many tens of thousands on the high end -- this now -- this comment that General Keane has made. It's not a number that we do track. It's -- there is -- we are capturing or killing a large number of bad guys in Iraq. We are detaining a large number of people who are under investigation either as criminal elements or potential insurgents from whom we can gather additional information.
But, you know, we don't tend to count. Nobody's maintaining a count of the size of the insurgency or the numbers that we're capturing because, as we've discussed from here and elsewhere -- before Congress -- it's not a -- first of all, it's not a metric that has a lot of meaning by itself. And secondly, it's a difficult thing to do, and for the effort that would be expended, one would have to wonder what we'd have at the end of the day if we were able to count it with precision.
What we're trying to do is understand the nature of it. Ultimately, we believe and are fairly confident that the nature of it is one that will be overtaken by the continued progress in Iraq and by the Iraqi people themselves, but the numbers themselves are -- they're -- they can be misleading. I mean, we see large numbers of Iraqi civilians being killed by the insurgents; we don't track those numbers either, but it leaves an impression that the progress in Iraq is less than it is because it's misleading by itself, and it's just not something that we're tracking. LINK