A reporter returns to Iraq after 10 years and, after after speaking with old friends and colleagues, finds a city “traumatized by violence”

They spoke generously and the words lent perspective to these new, unhappy days in Iraq. The first years of democracy were expected to be hard. But this year, with the third national election in April, these men have been frustrated by their terror-torn existence. Every new blast cracks their hopes for a normal life.

“What does it mean if work is good but you have to worry about survival all the time?” said Tharwat al-Ani, the trade ministry official. “Every year, it’s been something new: car bombs or IEDs or kidnappings.