August 6, 2004 7:25 a.m.
Months before the war began, still under Saddam, we would stay in the Al-Rasheed Hotel. I worked with an all Arab team — Jordanians and Iraqis. It kept us somewhat under the radar.
The Al-Rasheed had that mosaic of President Bush 41's face on the floor of the entrance way. The two glass doors opened electronically, sliding out sideways from the center, which aligned you to step on the face as you entered the hotel. The mosaic had the lowercase caption: "bush is criminal" in English and Arabic beneath the face. I never stepped on the face but could not avoid stepping on part of a shoulder to get in or out of the door. I also did not want to be noticed sidestepping it. I watched my guys out of the corner of my eye after I'd pass through. Moyed would usually catch a shoulder; Falah would step right on the face, but there did not seem to be any malice involved. They put two mats over the face when delegations of foreign diplomats arrived.
Every night in the run-up to the war we got fried chicken and fries after the 3am liveshot. Everyone got a cardboard box filled with chicken and fries — a breast, a thigh, a leg and a wing. Bashir the driver gave his leg and wing to Moyed. I put my leg, thigh and wing in Moyed's pile.
"What am I going to do with all this?" Moyed asked.
I said I just liked breasts. Moyed said something in Arabic, then all the guys reached in their boxes to give me their breasts.
"No," I said, "one is enough." Actually I had two, one from the old driver's box, Bashir (when I thought they did not order a box for me) and one from my box. But Bashir seemed to have enough. He was at a little table with Ra-ed the office boy. I took one of the five salads in front of me and put it on their little table. After a silent pause Ra-ed the office boy said, "Thank you, mudir." Mudir meant "boss."
I tried not to eat the fries, but they were soft, warm and greasy. The grease soaked into the cardboard, and you could pinch a few of them together and dip them in hummus, then do the same with a piece of white meat. All you needed was a giant cup of sweet tea, a football game and someone who could understand you. Since there was none of that, I dug into my cardboard box with greasy fingers, looking for something I wasn't going to find. I ate fast, almost groaning with pleasure as the five guys around me did the same.
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I just read your article. It has been a while since I have read something so moving. I am at a loss as to what to write, which, for me, is usually not possible. You have my utmost respect. Our guys in the military ( and females!) continue to have my thoughts and prayers.
I think you are doing a great job and as a member of the military I understand and appreciate the risks you are taking to get the truth out to the world.
Keep up the good work and keep your head down!
Idaho Air National Guard
I'm on my way right now to catch up on anything I've missed that you've posted on the Fox News website, keep up the good work and take care of yourself, the world would be a much less informed place without you! Thank you again and God Bless America,
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.