I have not and will not ever go through 90,000 pages of wikileaked documents covering US military operations (January 2004-December2009). But, if the Guardian tells me its legitimate and important, I’ll begin with that understanding.

What then, when Mother Jones – more precisely Adam Weinstein – comes along and tells me not to believe Assange’s hype?

Adam Weinstein at Mother Jones dismisses the import of the Afghan War Logs on wikileaks:

“In truth, there’s not much there. I know, because I’ve seen many of these reports before – at least, thousands of similar ones from Iraq, when I was a contractor there last year. I haven’t been through everything yet, but most of what you see on WikiLeaks are military SIGACTS (significant activity reports). These are theoretically accessible by anyone in Iraq, Afghanistan, or the Tampa, Florida-based US Central Command—soldiers and contractors—who have access to the military’s most basic intranet for sensitive data, the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet). Literally thousands of people in hundreds of locations could read them, and any one of them could be the source for WikiLeaks’ data.”

My question: Just because it is easy for service personnel or contractors to view the material doesn’t change the significance this leak has for the general public in its capacity to form a view of the war based on new material, does it? Weinstein counters again, “By and large, like most of the stunts pulled by Assange, this one’s long on light and short on heat, nothing we didn’t already know if you were paying attention to our wars.”

Weinstein does make the valid point that the lives of Afghan collaborators are now at risk, as their names are not redacted from the material.

Ultimately though, I fear the coverage of the leak may develop into a character dissection of Assange and “discussion” of the relative merits of new-journalism; the former will dominate and the latter could be fruitful but will probably miss the point.

I am in support of wikileaks, but mainly because I am opposed to the war. I don’t feel our media does a good enough job at getting to the realities of war for the American news consumer. We saw just last week that the mainstream media ceased using the word torture for water-boarding almost overnight. That linguistic culture shift suggests to me that the mainstream media are as subject to political pressures as any individual … so, why shouldn’t we have wikileaks mix it up? And why shouldn’t we think about the flows of information: or the definition of free media: or tactics are served when information is kept classified, hidden?