June 29, 2004
E-mail Steve your questions.
I keep a small note card in my hand in case my mind goes blank during a live shot. Most days part of the report is about attacks and the number of people killed. I use a shorthand of numbers; for example the other day on my notes I wrote 105/3/270 after a series of terrorist attacks in six Iraqi cities left 105 Iraqis dead, three U.S. servicemen killed, and 270 Iraqis wounded. When I gather information I find myself jotting the numbers in three columns: x/x/x. The danger is you start thinking of them as numbers instead of people. However, when you are at a bombsite where a number of Iraqis have been killed there is no danger of this. Unlike suicide bombings in Israel — which are cleaned up with great speed and accuracy — in Iraq the effects of terror linger.
One thing that gets me is the shoes. After a big bombing, dozens and dozens of pairs of shoes, slip ons, will be at the scene — shoes that used to have legs in them, that used to be people, that are just empty now, empty but reminding you of what was there. I stood at a bombsite for a while doing live shots and there were empty shoes all around me. I would point down to the shoes to show them on camera, but I'm not sure if anyone got it like it got me. On one bomb site there was a small plastic bag that contained a tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush. A young Iraqi man looking for a job as a soldier in the new Iraqi army had taken a bus, maybe from a long way, to get in line when a suicide car bomber blew him up along with dozens of others. The only thing left behind was this poor little plastic bag with a toothbrush and toothpaste in it. I tried to hold it up, to show it on camera, but I don't think I made my point. I still see that little bag and I think about the poor innocent man who was waiting there in line that morning. And the pairs of slippers all around him. He was not a number, none of them were...
Your thoughts on conveying the horrors of war to those of us safely tucked in at home are on target. Some don’t see the underlying “details” that shout volumes. We can’t even imagine the enormity of how such events will change your life forever and those of our sons who are so bravely fighting this war. Our son is there, in Baghdad, at Camp War Eagle. When we hear from him he has little to say about what he has witnessed. I can’t help but wonder if the horrible scenes have taken him somewhere deep in his heart and left marks that will forever be etched on his soul. He is only 21…and made Sgt. a month after his arrival in Iraq. Your pictures and videos help me share this experience with him (on a small scale). He is our only son, my only child. I’m so proud of his bravery. I read the DOD news briefs daily to see the names of the casualties and I sit there silently lifting prayers of comfort up for each mother whose child has given their life in this effort. Nothing is more horrible to loose the life of a child …be it as a soldier just following orders… or an innocent Iraqi trying to help his country by joining the police force. Thank you for your efforts to convey the reality above and below the surface of your stories/videos. There are those of us who see in great detail your message. Fox News is our window to the world.
God Bless you, Lisa
Thank you, Steve, for your personal reports. You have opened my eyes more to the human side of the story. You are correct, one can never assume the numbers are just numbers; they are human beings with souls that are struck for no reason. I pray for your safety and continued reporting that provides a huge impact on those who read them. Cari
Yes Steve, some of us really "got it"! Be safe and continue your reporting with a part of your heart in it. Thank you. Jody
You ARE getting your message across... you, better than most anyone! I always appreciate your reporting.
Take care! Stay safe. God speed.
No questions, Steve -- just awe at the job you do. Come home soon and take a respite.
And last but not least, please let the people in Iraq know that one little woman here says that freedom is well worth the struggle, not just for them, but for their children and their grandchildren. There will come a day when their generation will be known as the brave liberators.
Another great column about Iraq. You're right, the shoes didn't make an impression when seeing it on video, but the description and how it effected you, did, however.
You explained it perfectly. Even if you think the camera did not capture what you felt, your words did.
Your story on "shoes" tore me up. I think we are getting too accustomed to seeing the same words and the same pictures on television. We don't want to think about it. But when you put it in terms of something as simple as shoes left behind it really has an impact.
How do you see this stuff every day and how will you ever get over seeing all of this?
Dear Steve, Don't have a question but just want to thank you for everything you do. Your blog entry really moved me today. Although I don't email you, I read your blog every day, watch you each day, and truly admire your truly "fair and balanced" reports. Thank you for reminding us viewers that each life lost, whether American or Iraqi, is a tragedy. Stay safe.
Kathy in Ala
Steve, As I read the story you put out about the poor innocent man that got on the bus and was killed, I got chills and thought about his mother. In a way, I have a feeling she had packed the toothpaste/toothbrush for him to take, just in case he found a job.
Blessings to you Steve,
Steve Harrigan currently serves as a Miami-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 2001 as a Moscow-based correspondent.