Their report? In the last 48 hours of fighting near Hindiyah, there have been 33 dead Iraqi civilians, with over 300 injured. Given the state of Iraq's medicine, the final total will probably be something close to 80 dead, 260 injured in just 48 hours.
US troops have been attacking Hindiyah, where they faced considerable resistance. As a result, they called in numerous attack helicopters, which apparently attacked these neighborhoods to soften up the enemy before troops went in. Some of the Iraqis who were killed or injured by these helicopter attacks were no doubt caught in the middle of the house-to-house gunfight that took place to clear the town. This, incidentally, is the same house-to-house action that I posted about previously.
Hindiya is a town of about 50,000 that is around 70 miles south of Baghdad. It is about 1/100th the size of Baghdad... so it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume that the fight for Baghdad could easily result in 10,000 civilian deaths, 30,000 injured civilians, and possibly a much larger humanitarian catastrophe on top of that due to hunger, thirst, sanitation, etc.
If this happened, approximately every other coalition serviceman fighting in Iraq would return home having killed or wounded an innocent Iraqi civilian. They will have to live with the consequence of their participation in these state-sanctioned murders for the rest of their lives. The state, of course, will not do enough for these veterans, many of whom will return home scarred for life.
I know firsthand what war can do to people. My father was a tank commander in Europe after WWII. He met my mother, who found him to be a charming and kind person. She got engaged to him before he left for duty in mainland Europe. He unfortunately found himself in Hungary in 1956, where he witnessed the Russian crackdown on Budapest, which killed 30,000 people. He saw a Russian tank ride down a narrow alleyway, crushing civilians in its path. He rushed to their aid afterwards, but there was nothing he could do -- it was a brutal, bloody, gory scene.
My father had to leave the military after this incident. He returned home a different person, no longer the person my mother knew. He was deeply troubled for years. He picked up smoking in the service, and chain smoked nerviously. He kept smoking for the rest of his life, until it killed him. He was far more prone to anger, outbursts, and violence. He had nightmares practically every night for several years that would wake him, screaming...
I was born over a decade after all of this, and I still remember waking up to his nightmares. I had to live with his anger and violence. If his actions were painful and destructive for me and for my family, they must have been worse for him. Much of his life was simply not worth living.
So, yes, by all means... let's support our troops by not putting them through the horror that will be Baghdad. Let's not make them murderers. Let's bring them back home in one piece while there's still a chance.
**note: Here's a local soldier who we should support!**