Iraq Is At The Fore In ‘The Sheriff Of Babylon’

Senior Contributor
02.26.16

Up to now, we’ve had many, many stories about the Iraq War. But most of them are stories of patriots fighting zealots, with the difficult history and messy present of Iraq put deep in the background. The Sheriff of Babylon, Vertigo’s superb miniseries, switches it around; ostensibly a story about an American law enforcement consultant investigating a murder, instead it’s the Americans in the background, and the day-to-day realities of Baghdad front and center.

Tom King, the author, would know. A former operations officer in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, King spent years immersed in the culture and politics of countries we rarely think about unless they turn up on CNN. There are no Osama Bin Ladens in King’s take on Iraq, simply people using labels as a matter of convenience to gain influence and money. The result is a complex depiction of a country very different from the foreign country invading it in the particulars, yet helplessly influenced by how that country sees it, and how that perception drives money and power. To say nothing of the personal consequences, as we see in this preview…

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