"The July 2011 date is firm, Defense Secretary Gates said, but conditions will dictate how many troops would be withdrawn then, and at what pace. Much will depend on the training of Afghan security forces, he said."
So, when Gates says that the July 2011 date is firm but what they do will depend, is he just saying that the administration is resolved that the actual month of July 2011 will not shift around in time?
I'm sure that it is a comfort to Afghans and Americans alike to know that the Obama administration is committed to the Julian calendar. Now if only we knew whether it is committed to withdrawal.