Cursing My Fear

Oct. 11, 2005 10:47 am

One step up from "Jesus Christ" on the fear meter is when you shout, "Holy s***!" which I just did a moment ago. Whereas the shout of Jesus Christ allows some time for consideration, Holy s*** is more immediate, more full of fear, no time to run.

An extremely loud explosion just went off right behind me as I was sitting at this desk typing an e-mail. I am on a swivel chair, and the force of the blast caused me to move forward violently in fear, buckling my neck. In the moments afterwards you feel sorry for yourself for being so afraid. I looked to the woman sitting to my right. She was also speechless, wide-eyed, afraid, looking at me, not sure what to do or say. I saw sorrow in her face too. After a moment I moved the curtain to peer out the window to see the usual crowd of running people pointing at rising smoke.

It is always the same story and it never makes any sense. But I am developing now my own sort of Saffir-Simpson scale of danger, based on what I yell out immediately after an explosion. If it is "Jesus Christ" it is not bad, still a moment to consider, to think it over, to say it almost in anger at the fact that an explosion happened so nearby. Unlike "Holy s***," which is when one happens right behind you, catches you by surprise so you don't know for a second whether you are in real trouble or not. It's a real neck snapper that rattles you inside and leaves you a little shaky for sometime after.

Last week there was a Jesus Christ gunshot incident, which caused me to run, and while running making the point, "Jesus Christ." Just now there was a Holy s*** bombing, which has me rattled still.

Oct. 8, 2005 9:17 p.m.

If you have two live shots close together it makes no sense to go back in the workspace, also known as "the sub," so you sit with the floodlights on and look out on the mosque. I've looked out on that blue dome from a variety of angles over the past three years, from Saddam's Information Ministry, and from different hotels, an unchanging backdrop to all the events around it.

Sitting out and looking at Baghdad at night around the mosque — it is remarkably quiet, just a few cars moving around a traffic circle and a few pop, pop, pops of a Kalashnikov, sometimes single shots, sometimes a burst. If it wasn't for the shooting, if it wasn't for the fact that you can't go out there without getting killed or kidnapped, it would be a decent place to look out on, like a porch on a lake. But with the pops you can never relax. You just can't ignore it.

A stray cat came by, a kitten, which stared up into the light then ran off, then a ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk — a .50-caliber gun, the big gun on top of some humvees. Those shells go through walls. I once saw a woman try to kill an anti-government fighter who had shot at her from a building. She traced what she thought would be his path down an apartment stairway behind a brick wall — ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk, blasting apart the brick. She didn't know whether she got him or not. I don't know who was firing out there tonight. It was out in the night, a long way away.

E-mail Harrigan


We discovered you in Afghanistan ducking and covering and dodging. Your helmet was always a little askew like it was too big and I could tell when the situation was hot by the look in your eyes. We came to admire your humanity and your bravery and said many prayers for your safety.

Selma, Alabama

Thank you for your excellent journalism and especially your coverage of the drug war going on in Nuevo Laredo. While most of Mexico is fairly safe to travel and live, the border areas are especially dangerous. Perhaps ths situation would begin to be alieviated if Americans stopped using illegal drugs!

Guadalaraja, Mexico

Hey Steve,

I look for your blogs every day. I hope that you come home soon. I appreciate your hard, excellent work. Take care.



I've admired your reporting all along, and recently found your blog. You're so honest.

Charlottesville, VA


Great work on the storms here you will be missed. Tell the boys in Iraq we support them 100%


Dear Steve,

Stay safe! We were waiting to see where you would be during the Hurricane Rita coverage - you did a fabulous job covering Hurricane Katrina. We have been watching you since you were covering the war in Afghanistan yelling at your camerman to "get down" during an attack. Thanks for reporting the news "fair and balanced" as always. You are a true professional and an asset to FOX News.

Joe and Lynn C.
Hazleton, PA