I work in Information Technology, and that means I work on projects. A project is nothing more than a description of an outcome that we want to happen - an application will be made that let's users do something, some information that we will discover from data will help solve a problem, or maybe there is a plan for improvements to an existing system.
We make project plans. They describe what the project is going to accomplish, and how, and when. They also establish deadlines. A deadline is made for the entire project based on the deadlines for all the discrete tasks that make up the project. Every task has a deadline. It's pretty rational.
Sometimes, people launch projects with no deadline. Those projects are never completed though, because there are always other projects with deadlines, and they always take precedence over the projects with no deadlines. In Information Technology, we call the projects without deadlines Failed Projects or Dead Projects. Sure, resources get assigned to them, but work is always deferred so that work on live projects gets done.
It's simple project management.
That's the difference between Obama's plan for Afghanistan and Cheney's plan. Cheney had no plan, and no deadlines. Meeting deadlines takes courage, planning, skill, calculation, estimation, work, and will. All these things were lacking in the Bush/Cheney regime. Their plan was endless war and occupation. And endless cost.
Obama has the balls to bet his presidency on his plan for Afghanistan, and he just placed the bet with his speech tonight. Bravo.
Putting a deadline on the effort in Afghanistan demonstrates a will to actually succeed, rather than just to throw lives and money at the problem.
Now, the question is will the American people buy in - because we only lose wars that the people don't support.