Encounter in A Baghdad Cafe

The restaurant sits near the banks of the Tigris River, from which fishermen haul out the masgouf -- the big carp that are cooked over wood fires and served as a local favorite. Our guest, just days before the war, was a young man who had been translating the Iraqi press so that we could understand what the government was telling its people. He arrived a bit late.

As he was seated, his eyes darted around the room, scanning the other guests. He began to perspire and stammer, suddenly making excuses that he had to get back to work.

The reason...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!