Obscurity of DC Presents: Ultra-bscure Book Club, Week 29 (July 2-July 8) --- SHERIFF OF BABYLON!

Welcome, @ObscurityofDCClub and other members of the DC Community! Welcome to Obscurity of DC’s twenty-ninth Ultr-Obscure Book Club! This week, we’ll be focusing on…


Number of Books: 1

Description from dc.com: Baghdad, 2003. In an effort to establish some semblance of order in the war-torn city, Florida cop-turned-military-consultant Chris Henry has been assigned to train cadets in law enforcement. But good intentions are not immune to the chaos found in the post-9/11 Middle East. When one of Henry’s trainees is found dead, he’s forced to ally himself with Nassir, the last policeman in Baghdad, to unravel a bloody mystery. While Henry and Nassir search for answers, forces in the shadows are pulling strings that these men don’t even know they’re tied to.

Now that that’s over with, here are some discussion questions:

  1. How does “The Sheriff of Babylon” depict the complexities and challenges of post-invasion Iraq? What aspects of the story shed light on the difficulties faced by both the Iraqis and the Americans?
  2. One of the major themes in the series is the blurred lines between good and evil, and the moral ambiguity of war. How does the story challenge traditional notions of heroism and villainy? Are there any characters that you found particularly compelling in terms of their moral dilemmas?
  3. “The Sheriff of Babylon” tackles sensitive and complex subjects, such as war, politics, and the aftermath of conflict. How effectively does the series handle these themes? Did it provide you with a deeper understanding or perspective on the situation in Iraq?
  4. “The Sheriff of Babylon” is often praised for its realism and authenticity in portraying the Iraq War and its aftermath. How does the series succeed in presenting a nuanced and realistic depiction of the conflict? Were there any moments or details that stood out to you in this regard?
  5. The ending of “The Sheriff of Babylon” is open to interpretation and leaves certain questions unanswered. What are your thoughts on the conclusion of the series? Did it leave you satisfied, or were there aspects that you wished had been further explored or resolved?

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It’s certainly a series worth discussing but much like Howard Chaykin’s Black Hawk series. The complexities here would make this a controversial topic even a decade later, the opinions of US intervention are still felt even now. I’ll do my personal best to keep it neutral.

As this series is both part factual and fictional it’s hard to determine if some of the challenges they face is accurate to the real situation but taking the face value it’s best to say that the Iraq war brought a lot of difficulty of rebuilding the nation from Saddam’s authoritarian regime which was supplanted by the vacuum it left behind for crime and terrorism to flourish. What we are presented with, Sheriff of Babylon, is a cop trying to rebuild something in a country where the enthusiasm is not felt from the people of Iraq to have a scenario where there is zero confidence from this.

“Good men mean well, they just don’t always end up doing well.”
When it comes to actions involving war, there’s always going to be a blur between good and evil, not just about the rationale behind the war but your actions in them. If you look at the scope of the battlefield, Americans like our protagonists Christopher Henry who are trying to help out the people of Iraq by rebuilding their police, Sofia who is part of provisional council in Iraq while performing illegal activities in the background, and a former Iraqi policeman named Nassir whose taking out US soldiers responsible for the death of an Iraqi girl. These people, even when they are fixing wrongs caused by others, are doing bad to try to make things right. Performing more evil, it leads to a general cynicism throughout the story and moments where our good guys are working with individuals far more evil people than the evil terrorist they are looking for.

The US military being present here is so cynical around the politics and how it affects people, it makes what Chris doing in the region feel meaningless as the consequences of the past direct the present with no solution except to do bad.

In this series, there is a moment in Iraq involving Chris talking with Nassir’s wife Fatima where both discusses their feeling they felt about the Saddam Regime, the response of how they both felt about 9/11 and even wondering why so many cats are in the American Green zone? I think the conversation is fairly realistic on people’s thoughts on issues where they might have different opinions about the war.

Well, that’s an interesting question? It’s supposed to a “season 2” a continuation of this storyline. But whether it’s interests or the fact that Tom King is a busy writer to not be able to focus on a continuation with this series. I am sure that it is somewhat unsatisfactory to some, but I believe that the answer to the question in regard to the questions on who attacked Sofia, and was Jim from OP responsible for the actions that transpired through the story and should they kill him. Who was the real villain of this series is left purposely vague because that is the point. It’s just about the people who were trying their best to do right but ended up becoming their own villains in the end.