Blackouts, Drugs, Daydreams

July 1, 2004 

E-mail Steve your questions.

ed. note:  Tune in this Saturday, 11:30 pm ET for "Iraq: Behind the Headlines" hosted by Steve Harrigan from Baghdad.

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• Harrigan video archive

There's no electricity, so my run was cut short on the dark stairs, smoothie put on hold, showered in the dark, shaved with a flashlight. The air is hot and dry. I put vaseline up my nose to stop it from bleeding.

With the shift in time zones and odd schedules, many journalists rely on pharmaceuticals. Most can be purchased in Jordan with no prescription. On the plane ride in from London I saw one correspondent from another network hold out her hand to her producer — palm flat like a child waiting for candy. They were standing up in the aisle of the plane. The producer took a small pill out of a bag and dropped it in the correspondent's palm.  She swallowed it, then went in the back row to sleep.

I got an e-mail from a reader who asked what was it that best prepared you for war zones. My answer is Tae kwon do, a Korean martial art. What I learned from it was to keep my mouth shut and endure. If you are fortunate with your teacher there won't be much talking in class. There will just be commands, movement and silence. You talk to yourself, you struggle to keep going. Most of the class is an internal, silent struggle.

From a couch out in the dark hallway you can call family members. A lot of people have been sitting, laying, smoking, drinking, and talking on that couch for the past year. I sat on it yesterday and called my younger brother, who had just been to a family wedding in Manhattan, Kansas. He started telling me about his kid who got up on stage at the wedding and danced to the music. I was staring out over the balcony, but I was seeing his kid dancing. Then someone walked by the couch, past me, broke my field of vision for a moment and I remembered again where I was, and the dancing kid was gone and the dark hotel was back. For a few minutes there I forgot where I was...

E-mails to Steve

Hi Steve,

Love your segments and have been a fan of yours since your early days on  F&F. Stay safe.

Spring, TX
Dear Steve,
I think you're doing a terrific job reporting the war.  When it first started I had the TV tuned to FOX News all day long.  I guess if they'd let old ladies sign up to go over there I'd have been first in line.

Cherokee Village, AR

Steve, you are an absolutely great writer. Your words are like a live relay. I certainly appreciate your work, telling like it is without the exaggerated drama or the twist to make it political. Just telling the story from your eyes. I feel like I'm having a quiet conversation with another veteran, sharing the feeling. Thanks for the great pieces.
Pottstown, PA

I am currently a security contractor here in Iraq. When my friends and family want to know what it is like here I immediately direct them to your blog. One of your reports in particular impressed me quite a bit. You were reporting a firefight live from the back of a Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. During your report, you could here the thump, thump, thump of the main gun and the racket of the small arms fire all around you. I simply thought to myself, "that guy has got guts." Keep up the real reporting and be careful,


Thank you for bringing the personal side of the war to us. Thank you for telling  the rest of the world  what is going on in Iraq besides just the killing. We started watching Fox News after  9/11 and haven't stopped. You are one of our favorites.
In April of 2003, you talked to a young marine, Sgt. Brian,  on air. That was our son! It was great that you let him phone home to tell us he would be on TV. I grabbed a blank tape and recorded it. He is back in Iraq training Iraqi border patrol. Hope to have him home by Christmas. Love the work that you have done. Stay safe.
Two very grateful parents,
Frank and Joann
Lovell, WY


I search the Fox website every evening hoping for a new Harrigan Blog, then e-mail them to friends. I turn the volume up when your reports appear on the screen.  All because I know that I will be given an insight not offered anywhere else.  I thank you for the professionalism and heart that is so obvious in your work.

Your blog about the slippers and little plastic bag remain in my mind’s eye and tear at my heart as well. Your point was made and appreciated by more people than you know.

Take Care and Godspeed,


Hi Steve,

I wanted to let you know how I appreciate your ongoing efforts to bring us face-to-face with this war and its effects on the locals there. The horror of the whole thing is lost in translation by most newscasts, and it’s always good to know that there are still some dedicated, courageous correspondents that will bring us the stories from the same level at which they occur. The media usually seems to apply filters to the truth, so as to make it more acceptable, or something.  We, as Americans will never empathize with the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people if we are not made familiar with them. You, fortunately, bring that aspect of this war to light.

I have 2 sons who have served there, and one of them is on the way back. I stay riveted to FOX for updates and insights, and I continue to look forward to your segments.  Thank you again for all your hard work.

Stay safe, and God bless —



I really enjoy your well written, straight-from-the heart blogs on the website. It gives me a sense of depth to the story that's unfolding over there that we don't get with the quick sound bites on TV.

Birmingham, AL

Hey- I love your blogs. I am a sophomore in high school and I started to read your blogs one boring day at school. I came home and got my whole family reading them. I saw in your July 1 blog that you had family in Manhattan, Kansas. Are you from Kansas too? Keep up the good work on writing the blogs!


Steve - Great job again of putting the "special touch" on reporting. You guys are human and you bring that added bonus to let us see through your eyes. Thank you very much. We watched you diligently when you were in Afghanistan and were being shot at while you were broadcasting live on "FOX and FRIENDS" in the cardboard shack. You gained the respect of many Americans and loyal viewers of FOX News at that moment. Our prayers are for you and our valiant men and women serving our beloved America to preserve freedom throughout the world. 

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

I read your postings every day. It's refreshing to hear real-world experiences instead of pre-packaged news "stories". Keep up the good work.  Stay safe.

Houston, TX

Hey Steve,
Just wanted to send a brief note to say thanks for the reporting you do each day. As I read everyone's emails to you, I just can't believe how you affect us all in the same positive way. Each day I look forward to reading your stories and often find myself continually refreshing in hopes to find a new posting by you. Difficult as it may be, you have painted a mental picture for us all in such a beautiful way. "Afternoon Haircut" and "Four Caddies to One" have got to be my favorites. Although the "Carpet Man" sounded like a nice and much needed rest for you. I can just imagine being all cozy in a world of carpets drinking tea in a nice quiet room hidden in a country full of chaos! So, thanks for all you are doing. In this day and age where everyone seems to politicize everything about the war, you have consistently given us the facts truthfully and straight up.

Whittier, CA

Love your blogs. I have poor eyesight so I have printed them all out. Now your blogs have become a large paperback. My 81 year old Mom loves them, especially the golf one. She watches golf on TV - I have no idea why.

Stay safe,

Hi Steve...I'm addicted to reading your blog, and am sure to watch for your reports every day.  FOX News is so fortunate to have such an amazing person working for them, reporting the truth that we rarely get to see in our media. Your compassion, struggles, fears, and humor are all very real and come across in every entry in your blog. You are risking your life to bring Americans the are as much a hero as anyone I know. Thank you for being such a man of integrity.  It's almost like we know your personality through what you write...and that even adds to how much we trust your reporting.  I'm praying for your safe return and so grateful for your hard work.
Valencia, CA

You must have nerves of steel.  I am glad there are news reporters and news analysts who are able to do this kind of work. Your reporting is very good.  Thank you.

(Ella) Jean
Blountsville, AL

Steve, I don't know how you do it. I am overcome by your wonderful reporting both on TV and in your blog. 


Dear Steve,
I was very touched by your story. We need more stories from the heart. Thank you for your own personal sacrifice and that of your family. My youngest son is in Iraq as well. He is with "The Big Red One." He does not share daily events when we speak, but I hear it in his voice. It was a much younger voice a year ago. Now he is much more matured and experienced of the way of the world. Most of all he believes in what he is doing. So do we.

Your roll is just as important. Families trust you to bring us the truth. The good as well as the bad.  FOX News and the fine talent is where we turn for fair and balanced news. Great job, Steve. Stay safe and stay strong.

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. 


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.