as reported in my post "has it been six months yet?", tom friedman has a problem with deadlines. but matthew yglesias, who's currently playing guest host in josh marshall's stead at talking points memo, reports that he's not the only one dithering:
yglesias: beyond poking fun at people, there's a serious issue here. voters are upset about how things are going in iraq. so democrats want to criticize the bush iraq policy. this means they must agree that things are going very badly in iraq. but the consultant class along with various others has determined that calling for withdrawal is a losing strategy. consequently, democrats find themselves arguing that iraq is perpetually on the brink of total disaster as a result of bush's policies, but never, ever, ever actually goes over the tipping point of becoming the sort of lost cause where the main american goal has to be cutting our losses.
i think an important distinction needs to be made between those like friedman who insist that we're always six months away from the crucial deciding factor for staying or withdrawing from iraq, and those insisting that iraq is always on the brink of disaster. while it's certainly possible that a situation can teeter precariously for an indefinite period, it's certainly not practical to allow a period for making a crucial decision to remain open indefinitely. the first concerns conditions that may be outside one's control, but the second is about conditions when one actually takes control.
so those who continue to claim that iraq is at the tipping point could still be right (although i personally don't believe so; i believe civil war began last year); but friedman proved himself wrong years ago. either iraq has hit his magic milestone, obligating us to stay, or iraq hasn't, obliging us to leave, but to continue to move the goalposts and insist that it's not yet time to make a decision is to indulge in a most disingenuous and deadly game of procrastination.
friedman's six months has expired five times already. so, to paraphrase nixon, it's time for everyone to shit or get off the pot.