FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lt. Governor Griffin Responds to Disastrous Withdrawal from Afghanistan
Says ‘This catastrophe is damaging to our national interest and to our reputation around the world'
LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin issued the following statement as Afghanistan falls to the Taliban regime amidst U.S. withdrawal:
"Although my current role as Lt. Governor is not directly related to international relations, I have several thoughts as a veteran, former member of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, and an American on the current situation in Afghanistan:
"It is both tragic and heartbreaking to watch Afghanistan fall back into the hands of the Taliban and radical Islamic terrorists. President Biden was dangerously wrong last month when he stubbornly boasted that Afghanistan would not be overrun by the Taliban, and his failure to plan for an orderly, conditions-based withdrawal makes America less safe as a result. This catastrophe is damaging to our national interest and to our reputation around the world.
"Unfortunately, this mistake was long in the planning. Instead of telling Americans the hard truths, politicians – Democrats and Republicans – have tried for years to govern using populist slogans like “endless war,” creating a false choice between nation-building with tens of thousands of American troops on the one hand and isolationism on the other. The truth is there are other options, and those options should be pursued. The American people have long understood the folly of nation-building in a country whose citizens are unable to build for themselves. They are now seeing the folly of complete withdrawal from a country where we have a strategic interest – not altogether different from our initial abandonment of Iraq. The proper role of U.S. forces in Afghanistan should not be one of governing or nation-building. It should be one employing minimal forces with access to the country for the purpose of killing those who would do us harm. While it is not always popular to argue for troops to be overseas in harm’s way, foreign policy shouldn’t be based on opinion polls. The sometimes-unpopular truth is that as the preeminent world leader, America has been able to maintain relative peace across the globe by maintaining a small security presence in hot spots such as the Sinai Peninsula, the Korean Peninsula, and especially Europe. Our national interest in Afghanistan is having the capacity to destroy and kill our enemies -- radical Islamic terrorists and the Taliban – on foreign soil so that our fights are in Bagram or Kabul, not in Boston or Kansas City.
"As we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I pray for the American servicemembers and civilians who served and shed their blood for our country in Afghanistan. I also pray for the people of Afghanistan, particularly the Afghan women and children as well as the Afghan interpreters, scouts, and allies who will suffer at the hands of the evil Taliban regime. Winston Churchill famously said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” May our nation learn from the real-time history lesson unfolding before our eyes."
About Lt. Governor Tim Griffin
He was elected lieutenant governor of Arkansas on November 4, 2014, and was re-elected for his second four-year term on November 6, 2018. From 2011-2015, Griffin served as the 24th representative of Arkansas’s Second Congressional District. For the 113th Congress, he was a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means while also serving as a Deputy Whip for the Majority. In the 112th Congress, he served as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Committee on the Judiciary.
Griffin is a graduate of Magnolia High School, Hendrix College in Conway and Tulane Law School in New Orleans, and attended graduate school at Oxford University. Griffin has served as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps, for over 25 years and currently holds the rank of colonel. In 2005, Griffin was mobilized to active duty as an Army prosecutor at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and served with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Mosul, Iraq. He is currently serving as the Commander of the 134th Legal Operations Detachment (LOD) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Prior to his current post, Griffin served as a senior legislative advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness at the Pentagon. Colonel Griffin holds a master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. He also served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas and Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Political Affairs for President George W. Bush. Griffin lives in Little Rock with his wife Elizabeth, a Camden native, and their three children.