Talking With Ordinary Iraqis

Jan. 28, 2005 7:30 a.m.
New York City

In the book "Killer Angels," the U.S. troops fighting at Gettysburg on a hill called Little Round Top decided to put their lives on the line for an idea. They were ready to die for what they believed in.

Any Iraqi who goes out to vote this weekend could be putting their life on the line.

Ordinary people — those who don't wear masks and cut throats, or dance around burned out Humvees — don't get much attention in Iraq. These are normal people with jobs and husbands and wives and children, who are scared, and who know they need help for things to get better.

A Baghdad fixer told me that under Saddam he never would take his family to a restaurant. There was always the chance that one of Saddam's sons could show up in the restaurant, see his daughter, and call her over.

A good evening for me in Iraq was going over to a cigarette factory worker's house for dinner and just listening to him. One son wanted to be a pilot. One son wanted to be a soccer player. They served meat, fries and tea. The father had taught himself English. He said you used to see Saddam's face on the TV every time you turned it on. A Saddam poster was near his machine at work so he saw Saddam all day. He said they were afraid for 30 years, and now, suddenly, the rock has been taken off and things have exploded outward. It's tough to control such a release after being pressed down for so long, he said.

The worst moment in Iraq was inside a Bradley when a tank next to us got hit and a soldier was badly wounded. You could hear it all on the radio but you could not see it, so in the darkness it was all the worse. Terrorists were firing from a mosque which was a no-fire zone for the Americans.

I've been hearing a lot of people on TV talk about Iraq who have not been there during the war.

E-mail Steve

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Dear Fox News:

I just saw Steve Harrigan on "The O'Reilly Factor." He was commenting on the upcoming election in Iraq. I was extremely impressed with his no-nonsense reporting. It was refreshing to see. We need more reporters like him. I could see the intensity, honesty, and passion in him. I've never written anything like this before but after seeing him I just had to send in this e-mail. Whatever you are paying him, he deserves every penny and more!

Bob Cook

I just watched your interview of Steve Harrigan on "The Factor" this evening. His visible emotion regarding the dangers faced by Iraqi citizens and journalists was very telling. Mr. Harrigan did more to "cover the story" in Iraq during those few moments than all the network news blabber combined. Bravo!
— Steve (Independence, MO)

Dear Steve,

I watched you today on "FOX and Friends" as well as "The Factor" with Mr. O'Reilly.

I have enjoyed your reporting for the past two years. I just wanted to tell you how moved I was by your honest report of the upcoming elections. I wish more people would have told us what REALLY to expect on Sunday. PLEASE take care of you!! We need truth-bearers.

— Dawn (Washington, NJ)

ed. note: Click the video tab in the upper right to watch Harrigan on "FOX & Friends."

There isn't anyone who can bring us the news out of Iraq like you do. I was surprised to see you on FOX this morning and I hope it is your choice not be in Iraq at this historical time. You certainly have played a major part in the history of this war. Thanks for doing such a good job keeping us informed. Stay safe. Karen

I am a former Marine Corps Officer and my son is an active duty Marine on an Abrahms tank crew who rotates to Iraq within 45 days.

It is these people he will be fighting for. Thank you

— John

I caught you this AM on "FOX and Friends," which quite frankly, I rarely watch. I appreciated your frankness and honesty as you tried to paint an accurate picture of the situation. And I really laughed at your "lawyer" comment to Kilmeade. Good one. Stay safe.

— Steve (Glen Burnie, MD)

Just got finished watching you on "FOX & Friends." Glad to see you safe and sound. I really appreciate your bluntness! Will look forward to your future blogs when you go to the Congo. Are you going back to Baghdad?

— Barb (Fort Worth, TX)

I love reading your blogs. I am an avid FOX News fan. You are my favorite reporter, although I have missed seing you on TV for a while. I really enjoyed your coverage of the Afghanistan War. I go to the FOX News Website several times a day. I love reading about what you have been doing. Thanks for sharing with us. It gives me an insight into what a reporter's lifestyle might be like. I have a question. Are you from Knoxville? I am a native Tennessean. I love my home state, especially UT football.

Take care and thanks for keeping up your articles. Keep them coming.

— Suzanne

Harrigan, YOU are CRAZY! You are my most admired correspondent of a group of many men and women who will give it all for the best coverage of the biggest story of the moment. I guess my concern ya gonna top what you have given us in the past couple of years in Afghanistan and Iraq when it is all over, how are you gonna fill your day? I worry for you, I wish you well...

— Gary

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.