“There is a great tradition,” Five for Fighting’s John Ondrasik writes, “of artists speaking their minds and calling out their leaders for answers.” In that effort — and in the almost-plenary absence of an effort from any other media — Ondrasik released a new single last night called “Blood on My Hands”. It is a chilling, moving, and explicit condemnation of Joe Biden, Mark Milley, Lloyd Austin, and others who authored the disgraceful and cowardly bug-out that abandoned Americans and allies to the Taliban.
Listen to the song, and then read John’s statement accompanying it:
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.
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.
On the day 13 of our soldiers and over 60 Afghans were killed by a suicide bomber I sat down to write this song. 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.
After hearing “Blood on My Hands,” a friend said he found the song to be politically neutral, but morally-forward. My hope is that this song helps demand accountability, so the American promise is never again forsaken.
I know John a little, and am fortunate to call him a friend. He has always been a straight shooter on politics and, as John Hinderaker notes, just “a great guy” as well. “Blood on My Hands” is a measure of the disgrace and cowardice that Biden and his team have demonstrated, not a measure of John’s partisanship. Because like it or not, the blood of those who get sacrificed to the Taliban will be on all our hands. We as a nation chose these leaders, and we bear responsibility for their actions. John didn’t use the word “My” lightly here.
How many others will follow in that “great tradition” of artists and other media figures using their platform to demand accountability from American leadership for this disgrace? A more important question will be … how many won’t?