The cost for this rank partisanship, should the amendment pass? American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are fighting an enemy that believes America has no political backbone. Measures such as Feinstein's reinforce the belief that killing Americans pays off -- as Osama bin Laden concluded after U.S. troops essentially fled Somalia.
Feinstein has argued that a timetable would scare the Iraqis into making things work. If she is wrong, however, her measure instead would serve to undermine confidence in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government, and thereby hinder efforts to stabilize a war-torn nation.
I want to be clear on this. Once a senator votes for a war resolution, the senator has not renounced his or her duty to criticize bad policies, nor does the senator forfeit the right to change his or her mind.
The senator, however, does have a responsibility to fight for victory -- so that the troops who die abroad do not die in vain, or endure more fire because Washington pandered to voters' anxiety. They are risking their lives, and Feinstein doesn't even have the honesty to use the term troop withdrawal.