Recently Thomas E. Ricks, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), authored an article entitled “Let's Draft Our Kids” in the New York Times that called for the military conscription of 18 year olds. I have a great curiosity about people who advocate for conscription (which is essentially slavery) and war, so I decided to dig into his background a little deeper. The first place I looked at was CNAS, which his bio says he is a member of. I wanted to know who is cutting Mr. Ricks’ paychecks, since I find it highly unlikely that anyone who does not stand to directly profit from a war would support forcing kids into a situation where they will lose most of their liberty and potentially die a very violent death.
Well low and behold, the organization was kind enough to list its sponsors on its own website! Essentially every major “defense” firm in America contributes to this war-crazed organization, which is dedicated to getting American kids killed on foreign battlefields around the world. If you ever wanted to know which specific corporations benefit the most from war, look no further. As General Smedley Butler once said, “war is a racket.”
What I found particularly annoying about the article (besides its content), was the fact that the Times did not allow any public comments to be made on it. I was eager to see the virtual tarring and feathering of Mr. Ricks in the comments section. I guess this is just one more reason why the old guard media, which sees fit to publish garbage like Mr. Ricks' article, is headed the way of the dodo bird.
Given that Mr. Ricks is a paid mouthpiece for virtually the entire “defense” industry, is it any wonder why the guy is penning articles that call for more kids to be forced into military “service?” The editorial staff at the Times had to have known this, yet they chose to publish the piece anyways. It’s one thing for Mr. Ricks to stick his warmongering articles on a personal blog, but it's quite another for such a blatant war propagandist to be given voice in a paper with a circulation the size of the Times. Not only should Mr. Ricks be publicly smeared for being a war profiteer, the Times should be smeared for choosing to publish his vile ideas.
President Dwight Eisenhower once said, “Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals.” He was wrong on that point for a few reasons. First, the public cannot compel the state to do anything. It is the state that compels the public to do its bidding, not vice versa. If this was not the case, a draft would not be possible in the first place. Further, as we can see with the publication of this article, becoming a knowledgeable citizen is a rather difficult thing to accomplish these days. The Times certainly isn’t going to tell you that Mr. Ricks’ parent organization is entirely funded by the defense industry. Do you think that tidbit of information might change how people view his articles?
Listen to economist and historian Thomas E. Woods. Jr. discuss the role of propaganda in the promotion of war, as well as war's effects on American liberty and the economy.