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This decade, a million American soldiers have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Many have had a chance to develop relationships with Iraqi and Afghan soldiers, civil servants, and businessmen. Summed together, these relations are now forming bonds that will endure beyond whatever decisions statesmen in these countries decide to take. The personal relationships between Americans and their counterparts in Iraq and Afghanistan will influence the strategic balance in the region. These relationships are also likely too numerous and too deep for any statesmen to control.
Rob Thornton is a US Army officer and combat veteran of the Iraq war. He spent a year as an advisor to an Iraqi battalion and now works at the US Army school house at Fort Leavenworth improving the US military's foreign military advisory efforts. Thornton recently wrote a comment at Small Wars Journal Blog that illustrated the bonds that are strengthening at the personal level between Americans, Iraqis, and, presumably, Afghans...
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