Where Soldiers Come From

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The documentary "Where Soldiers Come From," airing tonight on PBS, follows a group of childhood friends from a small town in Michigan who heedlessly join the National Guard and end up serving as "accidental soldiers" in Bush's decade-long war in Afghanistan. Back home, the once-naive men struggle to find meaning in their service.

“I told myself I was never gonna join the military,” says Cole Smith later in his service, when he’s pounding cough syrup to stay awake through endless bomb disposal patrols. “Dropped out of school. Quit my job. Didn’t have any money. I figured, ‘Twenty Gs, National Guard, one weekend a month, two weeks a year, fuck, friends already there … Let’s do it.’” He looks away from the camera for a second, then looks up again and says in a self-flagellating sing-song: “Iiii-diot!”

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