War Reading Rules

March 25, 2005 3:40 pm

Warm french fries dipped in hoummos. Long, soft fries, still warm under the plastic wrap. You fill a paper plate with them until it bends from the weight, then if you have more hoummos left, you go back for more fries. You put some tabouli on the side for etiquette, but all you really care about is the fries and the hoummos.

Have read four books so far: a bio of Washington, who did not feel any compunction to speak in social settings and felt no awkwardness about just keeping his mouth shut; a history of U.S. photography, a novel called "Train," and now "The Wisdom of Crowds" by James Surowiecki, a real writer.

A friend of mine is working with wounded U.S. veterans of the Iraq war. She's spent a lot of time with them and has listened a lot. She told me the stupid questions they say they get asked and the difference between below the knee and above the knee amputations.

It's not a subject you hear a lot about and it's not something you see a lot of on T.V. If you do, you see a very standard kind of report that you could probably write without talking or listening at all. I'd like to do something when I get back to the U.S., a few stories together and see what I could learn.

I was on the roof of a building reading Surowiecki, but a young U.S. soldier came out and said something about it getting lit up and asked me to come down. Pretty dumb to get shot while reading a book about wisdom. There was also an explosion when I was putting on my socks in the morning, but it sounded far away. A flag snapped in the air before a live shot the other day and the cameraman and I both squatted down. It sounded like gunfire, but it was just a flag.

It's always nice when you are in an s-hole to have something to look forward to. Guns said he wants to go to a Yankee game and asked when the season started. A day game, I said, a weekday. The important thing is to get seats that will be in the sun the entire game.

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From Knoxville, Tennessee you are looking pretty worn out. I believe in what the troops and you are doing there, but hope to see you all home soon. There should be a parade. You are always in my prayers and always have my gratitude and highest respect.

— Doug

Dear Steve,

Sounds like you had a normal childhood, what with the dog and the Easter eggs. What happened? Love your cynic humor even though it's real. Stay safe and keep giving us those little stories that are indeed quite amusing.

— Barb (Fort Worth, TX)

Dear Harrigan,

I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful blogs. My boss makes me read them everyday at lunch time, but I have to admit, I enjoy them. Don't tell her though or she will come up with some other form of torture for me. Keep blogging!!!!

— Neatie (Rockbridge Baths, VA)

Dear Harrigan,

Always enjoy your food blogs. We think you are a food critic disguised as a war correspondent. The ultimate cover.

We are missing the daily reporting from Baghdad. The news originated here in the States just isn't the same as the news "live" from Iraq. Reporting by a field correspondent has a different feel, appeal and impact. Perhaps we are just impatient and will hear more from you soon. Take good care of yourself.

— Your fans in Virginia

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.