What is wrong with a time-table?
Defining a time-table for events in Iraq would give terrorists one of the most powerful weapons in any conflict; a weapon forgotten by most – time. Is it any coincidence violence escalates around specific points in time like elections, global conferences, etc? Is there better time to drive home your point than just before something that will affect your cause occurs? Also, if terrorists know that troops will be reduced on a specified date they have two advantages. Terrorists could simply wait it out for reduced numbers then escalate violence and plan around that date; focus attention elsewhere. Giving milestones to U.S. troops also gives milestones to terrorists. The only positive I see coming from that would be the slight increase in the margin for error leading to the capture or killing of terrorists as they too now have pressure from deadlines to accomplish goals.
The current administration line "we are staying until the Iraqi government no longer needs us" is acceptable. It sets us in for the long haul and that we aren't going away until our job is done.
Personally, I would like to know a plan with milestones exists. I wouldn't want those details made public, but it would be nice to know that a strategic plan exists. It probably does exist in some shape or form.
Winning the war
I don't think this war can be "won" outright. The world can win battles against terrorism but it will never "win" the war. The "war" is ongoing and will always be ongoing until we are all dead. As long as there is religion and people willing to pervert it and die for it there will be terrorism. Terrorists fight the way they do not because they are cowards but because they have to. How else can a small number of radicals fight a massive, well-equipped, technologically advanced army? They can't go head-to-head, that would be a quick and easy massacre. The only means to their cause is random acts of terror; the car bombs, the improvised explosive devices, etc. They will always be there just like drugs, both equally addictive and appealing to a minority of extremes.
When I see the administration speak of "winning the war" on terror I just cringe.
Here is another thing that just makes my stomach do somersaults: recent accusations and arguments are politically motivated.
Every damn thing in Washington is politically motivated. Am I supposed to think that a democrat spouting off about Iraq is not politically navigating public opinion in favor of his/her party? They are just as bad as republicans who highlight successes in Iraq while angling public perception of the entire situation to make it appear their party is doing a good job. One side is just as bad as the other. Lost in the mess are the leaders from both republican and democratic that are working together for long term goals and common ground while the more radical knuckleheads with loose lips on both sides get the majority of the press.
It makes me ill just discussing it.