Singer-songwriter John Ondrasik released a graphic and chilling video for his song “Blood On My Hands” in which he uses news footage from around the world to criticize the U.S. government for its hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The Grammy-nominated artists of the band Five For Fighting originally released the song in September after President Joe Biden ordered the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from the country, leaving the door open for the Taliban to quickly retake control.
The graphic new video, which the artist calls a “docu-music video,” was shared on his Twitter Monday along with statistics regarding the consequences and death toll since the U.S. withdrawal. The artist did not cite where he got his figures from.
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The harsh rebuke begins with Biden declaring that a withdrawal from Afghanistan will not, in fact, allow the Taliban to retake the country prior to the exit. From there, the video launches into a slew of news and archival footage of the situation in the country deteriorating under the Taliban, including horrifying videos of those who died trying to escape the country as well as those who were hanged, beaten and tortured by the new regime in power.
The video concludes with Ondrasik asking questions of former Afghanistan Vice President Amrullah Saleh about the U.S. allowing the Taliban to retake the country.
“America has not only lied to the Afghan people; it is lying to itself,” Saleh says. “The betrayal is not the collapse of a system only. The betrayal is about [the] fate of millions of people. I mean, who is going to take the words of this administration, and probably the future administrations, seriously?”
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In his song, Ondrasik uses lyrics that seem directly critical of the withdrawal plan. He also calls out leaders such as the Secretary of State, the Defense Secretary and, of course, Biden.
“There’s blood on these hands/ And still Americans…/ Left to the Taliban…/ Now how’s that happening?” the lyrics read.
Despite being highly critical of the 46th president’s administration, the artist previously explained in a press release announcing the release of the song that he did not intend for it to be political.
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“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,” he explained. “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. After hearing ‘Blood on My Hands,’ a friend said that 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 not forsaken.”
Ondrasik said at the time that he understood the decision to pull out of the country, but criticized Biden for not extending the Aug. 31 deadline.
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“Although I believe the decision to withdraw or not from Afghanistan has good arguments on both sides, I cannot comprehend why our current administration would not extend the August 31 deadline, thus leaving American citizens, SIV holders, and Afghan allies behind to a terrorist Taliban regime,” he wrote. “As a life-long supporter of our military I have always believed that ‘no man left behind’ applied to all Americans, as well as to those we promise to protect.”