Amman 3:59 p.m.

"You will eat kebabs in Iraq," Ahmed said.

He was pushing for Chinese. Johnny Fumbles had warned me about Chinese, unintentionally, the way he did so many things. "Go to Chinese with Ahmed," he said.

"You want Chinese?" I asked.
"Chinese is okay," he said.

Normally I would go along with second-rate Chinese or Italian in Amman, but not on a last day. On a last day I wanted the guy in the red hat pouring two fingers of coffee in a handle-less cup. I wanted a big stone building with a breeze coming in off the balcony. I wanted fat men in suits leisurely sucking the hubbly bubbly. I wanted Fakr al deen.

"I don't want to scare you," Ahmed began. That's how they always began. That's how the guards would begin tomorrow...when you stood next to the open trunk and they offered you a vest and helmet and you said no thanks I've got my own. Light? No, thanks, got one. Need a category three vest? No, thanks. But it is probably better that they talk. Better than sun and heat and silence and bulletproof windows rolled up and the vest pinching against the front of your neck and the click of a magazine into a wooden AK — click, like in the movies and you look out the window with far-grasping vision thinking 20 minutes…I can get through 20 minutes…it's just a 20-minute ride after all…

E-mail Harrigan


Steve

Sorry to hear you are back in Iraq, however, it's good to know someone from the media is over there... My son is stationed at FOB Warrior in Kirkuk. Will be leaving soon to come home the end of October. I end all my e-mails and phone calls with two words: "Stay Safe." And that goes for you also. Thanks for everything!

Joanne
Merrick, NY


Steve —

I was lucky enough to have both Marine sons return home safely from Iraq, and my heart breaks for all moms who have not been so fortunate. Wherever you are, please stay safe

Cindy
Harrison, AR


Steve,

You are absolutely the best reporter I have ever witnessed! When you tell the story... it is like I'm there. Thanks for all your honesty.

LC Nichols
Montgomery, AL


My son just got back from Iraq. Having been in combat I never expected to be as torn up as I was when he got on that airplane or while he was over there.

Tim Fitzpatrick


Steve,

I for one are so glad you are going back to Iraq, because if not for you being there, we would not get any news. We no longer hear news good or bad on our soldiers. They are forgotten news, and for friends and families it is sad.

Shirley
West Chester, PA


You've got more guts than "Ol Blood & Guts." Keep up the good work...

GM Hilliard


Steve,
So glad to find your blog. Missed seeing you the last couple of weeks. You did a great job reporting on Katrina. You are the best!! Stay safe in Iraq.

Betty
Atlanta, GA


I love reading your stories from Iraq… you at least tell it like it is here…

Doug