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Petraeus Hearts Irving Kristol, Smiles At Presidential Quip

Two weeks ago, our CentCom commander took a break from meeting with Wali Kharzai to accept the annual Irving Kristol Award at a dinner hosted by the American Enterprise Institute.

While Petraeus portrays himself as removed from politics – noting he has not voted for many years – this foray into the heart of American conservatism is a striking step for a military leader who is supposed to stay outside the political fray.

Well, needless to say, it’s an enormous honor to be with you this evening especially given the many distinguished guests here this evening–Vice President Cheney, Governor Allen, Members of Congress, Ambassadors, serving and former cabinet officials, and many, many others–including a number of wounded warriors as well.

Indeed, I’m particularly pleased to have this opportunity because it gives me a chance to express my respect for AEI, an organization whose work I know not just by reputation–but also through first-hand experience…

… I feel particularly honored to receive an award that bears Irving Kristol’s name and why I welcome the opportunity to talk about ideas before an organization that is devoted to their development…

But while Irving Kristol may be gone, his influence will be felt for generations to come. He was, of course, one of our Nation’s foremost thinkers on a host of topics, from economics and religion to social welfare and foreign policy. He was a man of staggering intellect who possessed a view of human nature and American politics that has, in many respects, stood the test of time.

Petraeus’ speech has once again raised the possibility that he will run for President – and as ABC News noted:

The late Mr. Kristol’s son, Bill Kristol, noted in a tribute to the award’s three decades of honorees that none has ever gone on to become president. He then added to applause and laughter, “Perhaps this curious and glaring omission will be rectified.”

Rather than simply letting that moment pass, Petraeus said upon taking the podium that in mulling over the theme for his speech, “It never crossed my mind, Bill, to talk about what you were suggesting.”

The line was delivered with a smile.

At a time when even his COIN brethren are acknowledging “failures” in Afghanistan,one would think the CentCom commander had better things to do with his time – like actually putting an end to the increasing rate of civilian casualties in Afghanistan:

Nazir Ahmad says he heard gunfire coming from a guardhouse in the early hours of Friday, outside the large adobe compound he shares with nine other families. Thinking that thieves were trespassing, he and several men ran into the ink-black courtyard, where they were struck down by grenade explosions and gunfire. “They were shooting lasers,” says Ahmad, 35, confusing the laser-sights on his assailants’ weapons with actual bullets. Shrapnel flew into his cheek and hit his 18-month-old daughter in the back. A neighboring family fared even worse: within seconds, a father and four sons lay dead.

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Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

Email: media dot firedoglake at gmail dot com