Americans and allies across the political spectrum have ripped the Biden administration up one side and down the other for the disastrous Afghanistan pullout. The nightmare scenario created by President Joe Biden’s insistence on sticking to the Aug. 31 deadline was the subject of criticism for at least a couple weeks — until much of the media and, therefore, America lost interest and got back to focusing on COVID mandates, political fights, and the return of football.
But at least one popular musician is using his talents to try to hold people responsible for the Afghanistan disaster.
Singer-songwriter Five for Fighting — aka John Ondrasik — on Monday did what many performers and rockers used to do: He published a song taking to task government leaders for failed military policies and urged people to hold leaders to account.
What’s the song?
Ondrasik’s new song, “Blood on My Hands,” takes direct aim at the Biden White House for its botched Afghanistan strategy and calls out the failures of specific people in the administration while showing the true pain the singer feels for stranded Americans and our Afghan allies.
In write-up he included with the song’s lyric video on YouTube, Ondrasik said, “Like all Americans, I was stunned and horrified at the images of falling bodies from planes, mothers handing babies over walls, and terrified Afghans being crushed to death at checkpoints due to our precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan.”
“I am deeply troubled by the plight of Afghan women forced to live under the return of Taliban rule and felt great sadness when reading a story about a popular folk singer, Fawad Andarabi, being dragged from his home and shot by the Taliban,” he wrote. “Though I believe the decision to withdraw or not from Afghanistan has good arguments on both sides, I cannot comprehend why the Biden administration would not extend the August 31 deadline thus leaving American citizens, SIV holders, and Afghan allies behind to a terrorist Taliban regime. As a life-long supporter of our military I believe ‘no man left behind’ applied to all Americans as well as those we promise to protect.”
Ondrasik said that he wrote the song the day news broke that 13 U.S. troops and dozens of Afghans were killed by a suicide bomber and felt a real desire to get his message out there after Americans and Afghan allies were left stranded.
After our last solider left Afghanistan, I received a call from a friend organizing rescue evacs of “AM-CITS” and SIV holders. It was a highly emotional call and moment of clarity. Private citizens now had the burden of risking their lives to rescue Americans and Afghan allies that our government left behind. America has broken her promise, but these brave Americans have not.
America was built on the foundational freedom to criticize one’s leaders and hold them accountable. It is what separates us from our communist and dictatorship adversaries. How else can we as a nation learn from our mistakes and make better decisions moving forward without honest reflection on our actions? To date, I have not seen that accountability.
There is a great tradition of artists speaking their minds and calling out their leaders for answers. Many of those have been inspirations to me. I understand that this song might be perceived by some as a political attack, but those who follow me know I am an American with a history of calling out both sides. If Donald Trump were President and he put us in the same situation, the song would remain the same, only the names would change.
The song begins by lamenting the “blood” Americans have on their hands and then proceeds to ask some tough questions about “what’s happenin’?”
“There’s blood on these hands, and still Americans left to the Taliban. How’s that happenin’?” Ondrasik asks, while calling out U.S. leaders for the “flag of the Taliban over Afghanistan.”
Then he confronts Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Defense Secretary Gen. Lloyd Austin, and President Biden.
- “Winkin’ Blinken, can’t you look me in the eyes?”
- “Willy Milley, tell me when did you decide ‘This We’ll Defend’ your sacred motto now means ‘nevermind’?”
- “General Austin, is there no honor in shame? Can you spell Bagram without the letters in Blame?”
- “Did Uncle Joe stick a drip in your veins?”
- “Hey, Joe. Just one American askin’, ‘What’s happenin’?'”
The artist then reminds Americans of who we left behind, since they’re no longer on our televisions:
I can’t hear her scream if she’s not, she’s not, she’s not on TV.
I can’t hear him scream if he’s not, he’s not, he’s not on TV.
And Ondrasik is fully aware that America’s promise now looks to the rest of the world — “to every Afghan ally that we left behind, every child who won’t know freedom, faces covered and blind” — like “s**t in the fire.”
Content warning: rough language
Blood on My Hands