“I will not be a part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans. It’s just plain wrong, and it’s unworthy of our great country,” Hillary Clinton writes in a chapter of her forthcoming book, “Hard Choices,” which Politico got a look at. The particular slugfest this chapter is about is the attack on a U.S. diplomatic installation in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, in which four Americans were killed. “Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me,” she writes.
“Without me”—what will that mean, in practical terms? Will she just, when asked about it, decline to respond? (“Many of these same people are a broken record about unanswered questions. But there is a difference between unanswered questions and unlistened to answers,” she writes, according to Politico.) One does understand Clinton’s impatience with the way that Benghazi has been turned into a conspiratorial shorthand. Relying on quiet disdain, if that is the plan, might be a more efficient tactic if it didn’t seem like she was a candidate for President in 2016. An alternative is to shame her critics into silence a bit more loudly, by making the case that just saying the word Benghazi is a sign of poor political character. But however much they may seem to blur together, Benghazi is distinct from trumped-up scandals like Travelgate, or deeply personal ones like the Monica Lewinsky affair.