As anyone who has been part of a White House communications team knows, words are chosen (and un-chosen) for a reason. In President Obama’s case, calling a textbook act of war by its rightful name would undermine a foreign policy based on a single idea: He’s the man who gets us out of wars, not into them.

Scour the president’s speeches and you will find that war is either something he has ended (Iraq), is ending responsibly (Afghanistan), or is helping us to “turn the page on.” In like manner, Mr. Obama suggests that war is something from the George W. Bush era, telling crowds that a vote for Mr. Romney means going “back to a foreign policy that takes us into wars with no plan to get out.” …

The point is that for all the administration’s complaints about opponents “politicizing” Benghazi (this from a White House that leaked politically helpful but nonetheless sensitive details about the raid on bin Laden), the logic of the president’s response to Benghazi has been political from the start. Libya was supposed to be the Obama success story, showing how this president achieves our goals abroad without committing American troops or treasure. …

He now tells the American people that he will be freer to speak about Benghazi after Nov. 6, when the results of the investigation are (conveniently) scheduled to be delivered. So long as the only questioners Mr. Obama faced before the election were late-night comics and the incurious national press corps, that might have been the end of it.