One of the commenters points out that the clock has already run out.
Of course that "'seemly' period" would be until January 2009 when the next president takes over.
They are not going to succeed. The reason that the other clocks are seen as speeding up is the now widely held perception that Iraq is a hopeless case. And not just Iraq — the WHOLE ARAB MIDDLE EAST is viewed in that light. More and more people just don’t think they are worth any effort at all. Plan “A” has failed. The difficulty is that there is no Plan “B”. Just a future Plan ‘Z’ which looms like Banquo’s Ghost over the whole debate. Never to be mentioned in polite company until one day there is is in all its starkness.
The clocks are not counting down to a set date. The alarm has already gone off and now all that is happening is that everyone has hit the ’snooze’ button’ just to delay the inevitable.
Not change the inevitable; just delay it for a ’seemly’ period.