Five Best Wednesday Columns

The Atlantic Wire

Jill and Scott Kelley in The Washington Post on privacy and Petraeus At this point, it's easy to forget how obsessed the news cycle was with the Petraeus scandal back in November. But Jill Kelley hasn't forgotten. As one of the women swept up in General Petraeus' extramarital affairs, she is continuing to speak out this week, now insisting that she was hounded constantly online by Paula Broadwell and members of the media hungry for a juicy scoop. "Our story stands as a cautionary tale," Kelley and her husband write in today's Washington Post. "We have experienced how careless handling of our information by law enforcement and irresponsible news headlines endanger citizens’ privacy. We know our lives will never be the same, and we want to prevent others from having their privacy invaded merely for reporting abusive, potentially criminal, behavior. That is why we believe Congress must consider how the rights that we carefully safeguard in other forms deserve equal protection in this age of digital communication."

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Mark Bittman in The New York Times on Coke's obesity awareness ads Just like soda drinkers didn't buy "new Coke" back in the '80s, Mark Bittman isn't buying Coke's new obesity awareness ads. With more people conscious of the role soda plays in the obesity epidemic, Coke "struck back with a two-minute video whose ostensible message is that too many calories will make you fat (true), that those in Coke are no worse than any others (false), and that we’re all in this together (ridiculous)," Bittman writes. "The beverage companies see the writing on the wall and will lobby, cajole, beg, plead, propagandize, lie, spend and do anything else they have to do to prevent that regulation, just as the tobacco companies did. And chances are, in time, they’ll also accept regulation in the United States while aggressively increasing their marketing efforts overseas. But that won’t work either, because the word is out: Coke is not part of the solution. It’s a big part of the problem."

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Simon Jenkins in The Guardian on Prince Harry's Afghanistan story Prince Harry—the most royal of soldiers—is back from his tour of Afghanistan, and he told the press that he fired upon enemy combatants from his perch in a military helicopter. This seems to confirm that he carried out the standard duties of his post, but you can imagine how much the British tabloids loved this story of princely valiance in combat. Simon Jenkins thinks Harry should've kept mum on his service: "The episode looks suspiciously like an effort by the army to dab glamour on its ailing Helmand campaign, and by the prince's minders for an antidote to last year's Las Vegas debacle," Jenkins writes. "Harry has been used to dust with celebrity a wretched and senseless war of choice, one that should never have been fought. Even were it necessary, modern conflict should be a strictly professional affair, never a theatre for personal celebrity. War is the grimmest and most banal remedy for the world's ill. It should be kept as such."

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Sarah Chayes in the Los Angeles Times on Benghazi and bureaucrats Hillary Clinton is testifying on Capitol Hill today, giving Benghazi hounds a chance to grill her on what she's supposedly covering up about the September 11 attack on an American consulate in Libya. Sarah Chayes thinks that State Department bureaucracy, not Clinton specifically, is to blame for the initial confusion surrounding the attack. "One lesson to be drawn from the Benghazi snafu is that powerful bureaucratic filters prevent crucial information from reaching senior U.S. government leaders," she writes. "Whether the client at the top is the U.N. ambassador, the director of Central Intelligence or the president, bureaucracies consistently massage and filter information before passing it up the chain."

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Aaron David Miller in CNN on Israel's election results Tuesday's Israeli elections predictably swung in Benjamin Netanyahu's direction, but his win wasn't as big as many analysts had expected. Aaron David Miller thinks that the results will thwart predictions of a Netanyahu-Obama showdown over Israel. "Sure, their relationship has been perhaps the most dysfunctional in the history of U.S.-Israeli ties. And there are bound to be plenty of downs in the next several years, particularly if Netanyahu is forced to form a narrow right-wing governing coalition," Miller writes. "They're never going to love each other. But I'm betting they'll find a way to get by without a major fight neither wants. The fact is the protection of Israeli and American interests and regional stability in a volatile, turbulent Middle East depends on it."

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