The answer to that question is: not many any longer, not even in State Department briefings. It last came up in media questioning in Monday’s presser, despite Afghanistan relief coming up in briefings at multiple times later in the week. This is still the posture of our State Department toward the Americans abandoned, and even this was an indirect tangent to the Ukraine crisis:
QUESTION: And one more. You mentioned Afghanistan. I wonder if there – is there anything from Afghanistan that you learned about identifying and rescuing Americans inside a war zone that you think can be applied here?
MR PRICE: Well, these are obviously not analogous situations, and so I would hate to suggest otherwise. Our primary charge is to keep the U.S. citizen community informed of safety and security developments. That is what we did most recently yesterday evening when we issued the updated Travel Advisory and accompanying Media Note to keep them informed of safety and security developments. And that can include information on commercial travel options.
We have done this because, as the President has said, military action by Russia could come at any time. And we all know and we have all seen indications that that is the case, given the large-scale military buildup. We’ve also been clear that we won’t be in a position to evacuate U.S. citizens, private U.S. citizens, in such a contingency. And so that is why we have encouraged private U.S. citizens who may be in Ukraine to plan accordingly, including by availing themselves of commercial options should they choose to leave the country. Even though we are reducing the size of our embassy footprint, the embassy is there to assist American citizens in this. We are in a – we have the ability to provide, for example, repatriation loans for any Americans who seek to avail themselves of those commercial options to return to the United States.
Yes, these are two very different situations, but the disgrace is in that difference. We have not occupied Ukraine or led its creation of a government; our military did not secure Ukraine; we did not send Americans to support an occupation/alliance to Ukraine, with the exception of a normal diplomatic presence. We did all of those things in Afghanistan, including the encouragement of NGO involvement, private investment, and all under the aegis of American military security.
The State Department keeps avoiding the topic of abandoned Americans, and even more disgracefully keeps referring to the subset of “citizens” rather than including legal permanent residents. The Biden administration ordered the military out before securing any egress for thousands of Americans of both types, as well as some Western-allies personnel and tens of thousands of Afghan allies. The national media keeps avoiding the topic as well, even among the State press corps that had been one of the last groups still pressing the topic.
Others are taking up the slack, however, and none with more vigor than our friend John Ondrasik, lead singer of Five for Fighting. He has launched a new docu-series called “Meet the Heroes” on YouTube and Rumble that will highlight the efforts of Americans trying to exfiltrate Americans from behind Taliban lines:
Inspiration for “Meet The Heroes” came from the Grammy nominated singer/songwriter’s recently released anthem song “Blood On My Hands,” and follow up acoustic version of the song and video titled “Blood On My Hands (White House Version),” which to date, combined, total close to one million views (see links below). A non-politically motivated statement, the lyrics speak out about the U.S. withdrawal strategy from Afghanistan and the video features Ondrasik performing in front of the White House. The video also includes excerpts of an interview he recently conducted with the former Vice President of Afghanistan, Amrullah Saleh.
Says Ondrasik, “By releasing ‘Blood On My Hands,’ I had no idea how many doors would open for me to become involved in the Afghanistan plight. As someone who has been privileged to be embedded with Project Exodus Relief, Moral Compass, and in daily contact with many of the groups performing the evacuations, I have been inspired and amazed at the determination, compassion, skill, and honor of private Americans who are keeping the American promise of no man left behind. These selfless people have been evacuating American citizens, SIV holders, U.S. Green Card Holders, Afghan allies, and other persons of high risk from Afghanistan.”
He continues, “Between going to work and picking up their kids from soccer, they are organizing sophisticated operations and are saving lives every day, while tragically suffering the heartbreak of the Taliban hunting down and even murdering those they are helping. American volunteers have quit their jobs and drained their bank accounts to rescue Afghan allies who fought beside them, and in some cases, saved their lives. They are shining lights and are a true reflection of the moral character of our nation. ‘Meet the Heroes’ will allow America to hear their words, see their faces, and know their stories.”
All proceeds from “Blood On My Hands (White House Version),” and the original version, “Blood On My Hands,” are going to various organizations assisting with evacuations and rescues in Afghanistan, in addition to the Afghanistan National Institute of Music and the Gary Sinise Foundation. “Blood On My Hands (White House Version)” also includes a donation link to Ondrasik’s charity site, WhatKindOfWorldDoYouWant.com, where people can donate to the “Americans for Afghanistan Cause.”
John’s first episode focuses on Rep. Mike Waltz, who has tried to organize exfil operations since the collapse of Kabul:
Right now, John plans this as a “bi-monthly” series. That leaves plenty of room for our national media to do its job and press this administration for answers to the plight of abandoned Americans, and to impose accountability for this disgrace. Let’s hope they use the time wisely … or John can increase the pressure to do so.
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