Assange wrote these things in 2006, and it’s hard to imagine that he didn’t have the Bush administration in mind. Certainly Bush was big on centralizing power, and wasn’t big on civil liberties, and sometimes he kept his infringements on our liberties secret. Assange is in this sense the anti-Bush, challenging secretive, centralized authority with a transparency that is highly decentralized. (His backers have created mirror Web sites to ensure access to the WikiLeaks documents, and Assange says that more than 100,000 people possess the whole archive in encrypted form.) Yet in one sense Assange is the anti-anti-Bush.

“I don’t care about racial profiling. You know, sometimes it is good we are racially profiled, because the God’s honest truth is that 99 percent of the people that are robbing, stealing, killing these drivers are blacks and Hispanics,” said Mateo, who is Hispanic and has a black father

These leaks have been compared to the Pentagon papers. Which they are not. The Pentagon papers revealed that the U.S. engaged in a systematic campaign to deceive the world and the American people and that its private actions were often the opposite of its stated public policy. The WikiLeaks documents, by contrast, show Washington pursuing privately pretty much the policies it has articulated publicly. Whether on Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan or North Korea, the cables confirm what we know to be U.S. foreign policy. And often this foreign policy is concerned with broader regional security, not narrow American interests. Ambassadors are not caught pushing other countries in order to make deals secretly to strengthen the U.S., but rather to solve festering problems.