Over The Horizon

By Patrick Appel
Larison is skeptical of Bush's time horizon and Obama's linking a timetable to conditions:

This is not really a shift, as the NYT would have it, so much as it is yet another rhetorical dodge.  Officially, the administration has always wanted to leave Iraq as quickly as possible, and we all know that this claim is not credible.  The difference between such a horizon and a firm timetable is clear enough: the former can be revised and allowed to recede far off into the future, while a timetable ought to mean that there are certain dates by which such-and-such a number of troops must be withdrawn with a final target date for removing all combat troops.  To the extent that anyone links a timetable to conditions, as Obama has done, he is leaving the door open to the same kind of perpetual revision and delay that the “time horizon” concept already allows.  In this, he is not really doing anything new...