For months the White House has been responding to criticism that President Barack Obama was dithering on Afghanistan by saying the president had all the time in the world to make a deliberate decision.

But now that Obama has finally made up his mind, all of a sudden time is of the absolute essence. The New York Times reports:

Until recently, discussions focused on a deployment that would take a year, but Mr. Obama concluded that the situation required “more, sooner,” as one official said, explaining some of the central conclusions Mr. Obama reached at the end of a nearly three-month review of American war strategy.

If the President had just stuck with the strategy he announced in March, and confirmed in August, U.S. armed forces could be currently enjoying an eight to three month head start on where they are today.

Worse, the President is promising a July 2011 date for the beginning of a troop pullout. There is only one purpose for such a “timeline” and it has nothing to do with achieving results on the ground.

Promising firm dates for troop pullouts is an entirely political move that has everything to do with placating the leftist base of the Democratic Party that wants to spend more resources on domestic programs.