Andrew Sprung notices an interesting pair of parallel quotes:
"That's exactly why we thought a timetable was so important," Mr. Obama said. "Because in the absence of a time frame, if the view in Afghanistan is this is an open-ended commitment or an indefinite commitment, then I think we have very little leverage" over the Afghan leader. (Barack Obama, 12/09)
“Demands in the U.S. Congress for a timeline to withdraw American troops from Iraq are constructive because they exert pressure on Iraq’s leaders to forge compromises....the strong feelings expressed in the Congress about the timetable probably has had a positive impact . . . in terms of communicating to the Iraqis that this is not an open-ended commitment.” (Bob Gates, 4/07)
Of course, the Iraqis still have not agreed on a national election even as a very hard deadline for US withdrawal approaches.