Although we are confident of victory in Iraq, we will not put a date certain on when each stage of success will be reached -- because the timing of success depends upon meeting certain conditions, not arbitrary timetables.
* Arbitrary deadlines or timetables for withdrawal of Coalition forces -- divorced from conditions on the ground -- would be irresponsible and deadly, as they would suggest to the terrorists, Saddamists, and rejectionists that they can simply wait to win.
* No war has ever been won on a timetable -- and neither will this one.
Headline in the New York Times, October 22, 2006: U.S. to Hand Iraq a New Timetable on Security Role
WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 — The Bush administration is drafting a timetable for the Iraqi government to address sectarian divisions and assume a larger role in securing the country, senior American officials said.
Details of the blueprint, which is to be presented to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki before the end of the year and would be carried out over the next year and beyond, are still being devised. But the officials said that for the first time Iraq was likely to be asked to agree to a schedule of specific milestones, like disarming sectarian militias, and to a broad set of other political, economic and military benchmarks intended to stabilize the country.
Although the plan would not threaten Mr. Maliki with a withdrawal of American troops, several officials said the Bush administration would consider changes in military strategy and other penalties if Iraq balked at adopting it or failed to meet critical benchmarks within it.
Bush - over and over and over again since the Iraq war began: 'Stay the course'.
Bush during his radio address on Saturday: 'Mr. Bush emphasized that the administration was staying flexible in its planning and would “make every necessary change to prevail".'
Update: Meanwhile, back at the Presidential Ranch Assigned to Vigorously Denying Anything Unless Sanctioned (aka 'PRAVDA US'), a National Security Council mouthpiece tells the Washington Post that the NYT story wasn't 'accurate' which is followed by WH spinmeister Dan Bartlett claiming any changes are 'benchmarks' (because they know the word 'timetable' will come back to bite them on their 'stay the course' butts).