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 141 comments Comments 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.