The Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan brings to mind Steve Earle's controversial "John Walker's Blues"

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      When the Taliban waltzed unimpeded into Kabul yesterday, I started thinking about a song released by Steve Earle on his Jerusalem album back in 2002, the year after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.

      It was called "John Walker's Blues", and it put the Nashville-based singer-songwriter in the unfortunate shoes of captured Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh.

      At a time when many of his countrymen were ready to string up the “American Taliban”, Earle risked alienating fans by showing the 20-year-old Lindh in a sympathetic light. He even went so far as to appear on CNN’s blustery political talk show Crossfire to defend his stance.

      When I interviewed Earle in January of 2003 I asked him about the backlash to the controversial tune.

      “The backlash came from pretty predictable, hard-right-wing sources," he told me, "and for the most part the reviews have been great. People have understood why I wrote it.”

      No matter which side of the political fence you were on back then--or where you're sitting right now--you have to admit that "John Walker's Blues" is a mighty compelling track.