Listen to this plaintive folksong on YouTube: Blood on my hands.
Here is what the writer and singer, John Ondrasik, says; I post it without commentary, for now. Share your thoughts with me, the writer, your family and friends:
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.
JO 9/21 Note: In my haste to release this song I uploaded a video with an incorrect lyric. The army motto is “This We’ll Defend” not “This will defend”. Though we have corrected the error on other platforms YouTube will not allow us to swap out the video without deleting a link that has been widely shared. Therefore we will keep up this video for now. I apologize for the mistake and upon reflection am taking steps so it does not happen again. I hope those mentioned in this song one day find it in their hearts to do the same thing. 🙂
Editor’s Note: I will no doubt comment on this later. It is raw and reminds me of the folk songs of the 1960s reflecting bitterness and fear and anger.
Let me make it clear: I do not necessarily agree with what John sang or wrote. But it is something we all need to think about.