Why I'm a Centrist Who Is Turning Liberal
Thomas Ricks blames an inept military and intelligence overreach for his shift
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2014 12:54 PM CDT
A 2011 file photo of Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park in New York.   (AP Photo/Stephanie Keith, File)

(Newser) – Reporter and author Thomas Ricks has long been what he would describe as a "detached centrist." He's also a big fan of the free market and a strong national defense, and he's financially comfortable as he approaches the age of 60. Conventional wisdom might suggest that he should be "drifting into a cautious conservatism" right about now, but Hicks writes in Politico Magazine that he is as surprised as anyone to find himself shifting to the left instead. Among his reasons:

  • Military: As the author of several books about the military, Ricks finds himself appalled at how badly our wars have been run in Afghanistan and Iraq, at the Pentagon's use of torture, and at the employment of mercenaries and security contractors who have "poisoned the conduct of ... war."
  • Intelligence: Hicks writes that he's no great fan of Edward Snowden, but it's clear now that "American intelligence officials have shown a contempt for the way our democracy is supposed to work."
  • Income inequality: Both parties are to blame for making the rich richer and the poor poorer, he writes. "Apparently income redistribution downward is dangerously radical, but redistribution upward is just business as usual."
Click for Ricks' full column.

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Showing 3 of 141 comments
Sep 20, 2014 8:38 PM CDT
His observations sound libertarian (the left-leaning flavor, like me). The complaints cited, which I agree with, would not lead one to think of becoming a big-government liberal, I would suggest.
Jul 27, 2014 12:05 PM CDT
Since 9/11, I've been strongly critical of "intelligence." It has been political more than actually doing the job. That has to cease. The culture has learned to shoot the messenger rather than read the message. When I can see mistakes and I haven't been at the desk for 40 years, that is a system that needs some work. This routine of having civilians in there doing military stuff irritated the heck out of me in Viet Nam...now it is what does everything except the knocking on the door, where we still have 11 bravos. That system just is at the mercy of profit and folks who want wars to continue.
Jul 26, 2014 8:06 PM CDT
His comments about the military are laughable. CIVILIANS are in charge of the military, and the President is the CIC.