Waiting us out
That sounds perfectly reasonable, and for the most part, it's probably not smart to set a hard withdrawal date when you're in a "war." However, there's a fatal flaw in the argument, one that supporters of the "war" fail to recognize.
The Iraqis are good at waiting. Let's go back to the early 1500s, when the Ottomans swept into Mesopotamia and took the place over. Poor, poor Arabs, being ruled by filthy Turks! So they waited. They were still waiting 400 years later when the Ottomans were weak enough to defeat. And the Arabs did defeat them. Yay, Arabs!
Then the British moved in. So the Arabs waited. Oh sure, they engaged in some terroristic activities, but basically they waited. It didn't take quite as long this time, and soon the British, the most successful colonizers in the history of the world, got sick of them and left. Yay, Arabs!
We've been stuck in Iraq for four years. Do you think the Arabs are concerned? Of course not! They've had a lot of experience with this. I'm sure they'd like us to leave sooner than later, but eventually, we'll be gone, and it won't have anything to do with whether they have a working democracy or not. It will be because we're sick of it.
Is Dennis Prager and all the other supporters of this war willing to put up outposts all over Iraq and settle down for a long time? Like, say, 25 years? 50? 100? The Iraqis, I bet, will wait. And what will we get out of it? Lots of Americans dead for really, no reason whatsoever.
I don't really like the Democrats' timetable, but let's make one point: If Bush had, at the beginning of the war, been far more clear about what he wanted to accomplish (and no, "establishing democracy" is NOT clear), then we wouldn't need it now. I would like it much better if instead of benchmarks of time, we would have benchmarks of accomplishment. It seems like the Democrats at least are looking at that.
But whatever we decide, the fact still remains: it's not our home, so the Iraqis can wait. And we're just going to have to accept that.