A Return to Baghdad

Nov. 17, 2004 8:02 p.m.

Flapjacks with Frank Giglio, FOX overseas unit manager, before setting out from Jordan to Iraq. I didn't know the hotel made pancakes. Frank said pancakes at 7:30 am. At 7:29 my phone rang. He was downstairs at the table. I was still in bed.

They were big pancakes, plate size, three on a plate with a side dish of syrup and butter. The security guy did not want his order so I had them as soon as I sat down, then had three more. I poured the entire dish of syrup on and the pancakes drank it up. Frank knew the waiters by name. They brought more butter and more coffee. I don't usually drink coffee, but on my last
breakfast before Baghdad I usually make an exception, drinking five or six cups just to build nerves to a pitch. The flapjacks, though, were comforting.

Frank had just been in Baghdad for two months and was coughing. A lot of people come out complaining but Frank was old school. He'd been in worse places longer than me for the past four years. He was looking forward to the theatre in New York tomorrow night.

I told him I would like to get out December 28, which would be exactly six weeks. That would mean missing Thanksgiving and Christmas, but not New Year's. I didn't mind Christmas, but I liked Thanksgiving.

"The best holiday," Frank said.

"My best Thanksgiving," I told him, "my two brothers and I walked down Dearborn Avenue to the firehouse to where we used to play football when we were kids. We were going to play and the three of us were walking side-by-side, and I heard someone say from the field, 'Here come the Harrigans.' "

The airport in Baghdad had been closed a couple of days, but it was open today. The flights on small Royal Jordanian planes usually corkscrew in for security reasons, but today's path was much steeper than usual. When we broke the cloud line we were almost sideways. In the window seat on the righthand side, I looked straight down at the earth below me and we were dropping fast. It was like the Flying Bobs at Playland Amusement Park but without the wind in your hair, and there was no man to scream to to slow the ride down.

I did turn to the man on my left and stared in his eyes, as he was now almost directly above me, looking to see if he, like me, felt how crazy it seemed to be flying sideways, but he stared back hard, and neither of us changed expression.

[ed. note: Steve Harrigan will be featured in "Eurabia," a special four-part series on Muslims in Europe which airs Thanksgiving week on the "FOX Report," 7 p.m. ET on FNC. Click on the video box in the upper right to watch a clip.]

E-mail Steve

My heart goes out to you because you have the honor to report the facts in the face of the horror. Thank you sir.

— Richard

I very much enjoy your candor in your reports. Don't know how you know where to be and when, but keep up the fine work.

— Jay


We watch, we wait, we listen, and you deliver. God bless, good luck, head low and stay safe.

— Kris (Chattanooga, TN)


I hope you never lose your capacity to feel the horror you have faced. It shows you have heart.

— Wanda (Indianapolis, IN)

I found your comments on editing the video of a beheading very personal and candid. Typically, I don't have much sympathy for the media as they stick a mic in someone's face and ask how they feel about a loved one's death. However, what must be a horrible experience for you (which I have avoided) is a job requirement for you.

Two of the guys in our office viewed the first video, and they both said they wished that they never had. These guys are hunters, and not afraid of the sight of blood. The look in their eyes when they urged me not to watch was enough to chill my blood.

I hope for a time when we don't have to view or think about this type of news ever again.

— David


Just wanted to write to you to say I think you are one of the best reporters working today. Not only for FOX, but for all the networks. You do a great job!!!

Today I read your article titled "Editing a Horror." I am a veteran of the first Gulf War, so I am familar with death and destruction, but this is beyond even what happens in battle.

— Darcy


Out of curiosity and a desire to know what was being done to these victims, I watched my first and, hopefully, only beheading on the Internet a couple months ago. The horror was unimaginable and unforgettable. It is haunting.

The words of your article capture the nauseating experience exactly. And reading it helped me know that someone else has experienced this horror with similar emotions to mine.

Thank you.

— Greg (Findlay, OH)

Dear Steve,

I am a regular FOX News junkie. I appreciate your reports from the field, but after reading this article on your reporting, my heart goes out to you.

Please do not let the horrors upon which you are reporting harden your heart. The service of letting the world know, even if many of them choose not to pay attention to the horrors we are fighting against, is important.

— Kathleen (Las Vegas, NV)

Your stories are riveting, gut wrenching, and yes, worth being told. Thank you for your service.

With gratitude,

Today, November 15, is the first day that I have ever read one of your reports. The link was posted on the FNC Report newsletter that I am a subscriber to. I don’t always click on every story every day that is posted in the newsletter. This one caught my eye, so I clicked on it to read what you had written. There are no words to express how I feel about what you wrote. I can only try and sympathize, as I am sure thousands will also, about how you must feel having to witness these atrocities, but I am sure I can never begin to understand….just as no one can ever fully understand what the human beings on the film you were editing went through.

— Aimee

Thank you for the clear, concise pictures you paint with words. A God-given gift.

— Christine (Houston, TX)

Dear Steve,

You provide important insight not usually seen in the mainstream media. Stories that flesh out the larger picture. Your last story on the unfortunate Russian soldier was gut wrenching. Not because of anything you described but because of your own reaction to viewing it. I'm sorry you had to see it. But the people of the world need to know what kind of people we are dealing with in this war. Thank you Steve for telling the truth.

— Ray (Chicago, IL).

God bless you for your conscience and its use. Sadly, it is a tool ever-diminishing, it seems; not only in the journalistic and the political, but the universal, as well.

— Craig (Anderson, IN)

No reporter grabs our attention more than you do. We watch FOX exclusively because we know we are getting the truth. When one of us is out of the room and you come on, the other yells, "Hurry, here's Steve." It's as if you are family. Somehow your stories make us feel part of what is going on. Please be careful.

— Jean and George

Thank you for everything you do. I don't see how you can do it.

— Jason (Tulsa, OK)

Dear Steve,

Each time I read your column I am shocked at the things you go through to bring us the real news of the world. I am sorry and saddened that things like this happen, but realize we all need to know in order to make it stop. Thank you for the difficult work you do and I am praying for you often.

— Helene (Maui, Hawaii)

Hey Steve,

I've admired your work from back here in DC. A reporter with guts. More than most I believe.

— Larry

Just read your piece on the edit for the murder on the young russian. How disturbing it is just to hear you describe it. Just so you know, it is a very important job you have and I thank you for doing it so well.

— Amanda


I just read your commentary on editing a horrific scene. Bless you for keeping your humanity and still being able to be touched.

— KC

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.