Sounds of Baghdad

June 30, 2004 

E-mail Steve your questions.

Someone left three Nature's Valley® granola bars at the computer where I type. My options are to eat one and leave two, or eat one and pocket two.

We got our first look at the new Iraqi leader, Allawi. He walks with a limp because Saddam sent a man to London to kill him with an axe. Now he's in charge of Saddam's fate. Almost like a Greek play.

I was sitting on the corner of my bed at 9 am, plotting my next move. Hammering was going on throughout the hotel. They are renovating the rooms, tearing out the old toilets. The hammering makes it tough on the night crew to sleep during the day. A rocket hit in the distance. After a while in Baghdad you can tell the difference in sound between a mortar, a rocket, and a car bomb.

Mortars are not serious; car bombs are the loudest and the most serious. A minute after the first rocket, a second rocket hit much closer to the hotel, close enough that I was not sure for a moment whether the hotel was hit or not, so, doing the only thing I could do, I ran to the bathroom, as security instructed. I leaned on the counter in the bathroom, looked in the mirror and said to my reflection, "Get me the F out of here," only I didn't say F. Just then there was a loud crash and a pulse of fear went through me. It was the hammering, starting up again right over my head.

The terrorists let three Turks go as "a favor to their Muslim brothers" in Turkey. There is a rule against a Muslim killing a fellow Muslim. It's not clear how closely some terrorists follow this rule. The BBC reporter in Saudi Arabia was shot by Al Qaeda and left to die on a tarmac. He held up a Quran and told passers-by he was a Muslim, but there is videotape of people walking by, not helping him...

E-mails to Steve

Dear Steve,

My heart goes out to all the lost Iraqi souls, the U.S. military trying to make a difference, and the reporters from FOX News trying to bring us the truth.

It is not clear how it will all end, but hopefully we will have made a difference by making a stand against terrorism.



We usually stop what we are doing to watch your reports, because we know we will get the true facts.  We did notice the significance of your report on the toothpaste and the shoes, that's another reason we like your reporting.  Stay safe.

Virginia and Richard

Steve, you have certainly made an impression on us all.  My husband is stationed in Baghdad at FOB Headhunter.  He had never seen death, and he is a loving father.  I can hear the difference in his voice now.  I know he will never be the same man as I am sure, you can never be the same man.  Please continue to give your personal touch on all your reports, stay safe, and May God be with you at all times. 


I have just finished reading "Sounds of Baghdad."  I enjoyed the e-mails you have received almost as much as the blog.  Most of them reflect my feelings. There's just one thing.  I only have computer access at work and print your blogs.  I have just gotten my mother (she's 71 and doesn't read anything but the newspaper) reading your blogs.  Now I will have to explain to her what you meant with "F" . Next time she sees you on TV, please know she will shake her head and say "and he seemed like such a nice boy".

Please stay safe,


Please know that you ARE getting your message across.
Your reports convey the sheer wanton waste of these attacks and the grief they leave behind. The shoes, the toothbrush, the toothpaste are all fragments of a person — a soul, whose life was snuffed out by the brutality of another.
Thank you for the job you do. We must never forget that the Iraqis are people with jobs and families and friends — just like us.
Warren, Michigan


Your story really touched me. Thank you for reminding me to pray for all these souls that died, and for the people around them.  Thank you for your service to us by conveying the gravity of the situation in human context.

North Carolina


Your professionalism and abilities to bring a story to life are without a doubt the best.  I appreciate the fact that you personally observe horrors that cannot be described in detail, yet you do so with great ease. I often see the strain in your eyes and pray for you and the crew.  Remember the words of Frederick Douglass "Without a struggle, there can be no progress." Your guy are making great progress. Keep up the great work.


Hi Steve,

I was a Marine officer stationed in Bien Hoa, RVN, 1972. While there we had a number of rocket attacks. After each attack, the reporters would gather and do the stories. We would see them on AFtv the next day.

It was remarkable; what they said had very little to do with what happened. Watching the stories on TV we would say to each, things like "Damn, if that was true, I would be scared." The reporters were blowing it way out of proportion.

You, on the other hand, are a fine professional. As I read your blog, I could tell that you were reporting what really was happening. Why? Because I have seen it myself.

Thank you, it helps our fighters persevere when they know the truth is being told. No more, no less.


Semper Fidelis


You are Fox's best foreign correspondent! Don't underestimate your work. You have an uncanny ability to articulate events which generate feelings of unbelievable magnitude here, at home.

E. Enders, 


An excellent post. You know that old saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words."  Don't believe it.  A true wordsmith, like you, can do much more with words than a picture ever can.

In my mind, I see that small plastic bag with a tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush.  That is all that remains of a human life.  A life that a mother loved.  A human life that had hopes and dreams.

New Jersey

I thank God for the tireless pursuit of excellence we see among the team at FOX News.  Without you guys, many more innocent would be dead by now.

Dear Steve,

I watched your live from Karbala reports and footage and could not turn it off, anticipating the next report. All I knew was that my husband, the beloved father of our three children, might be there. He's with the 1st Armored Divison. I watched the screen, wondering, "Is he there? Is that his battalion?" You did an awesome job reporting and covering the remarkable raids. Even now, I do not know if you were embedded with my husband's unit. Thank you for risking your own life to report back to us the status of our loved ones and the beloved Iraqi people. You have my utmost respect for your bravery. You could have easily stayed holed up in a Baghdad hotel and received your info over the telephone from the commanders, but you are an honest and awesome reporter!  Keep up the good work.  We need you.  I wish more reporters had the intestinal fortitude you do.  God bless you and keep you safe!    


Thanks again for the writings and all that you are doing. I enjoy seeing a new writing that somehow takes me into another part of the world and gives me a better understanding. 



I've always been told a picture is worth a thousand words.  I know now that is not always true.  I saw the shoes, but their meaning was lost until I read your words.
Thank you for helping us understand the deeper story behind what we see.


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,

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.


Yes Steve, some of us really "got it"! Be safe and continue your reporting with a part of your heart in it. Thank you.


Dear Steve,
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.

God speed.



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.

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.