Would you fight or kill or die for your country?

December 3, 2007 at 11:38 pm 5 comments

Would you fight for your country? Would you die for your country? Would you kill another human being for your country? What about for your nation? How important to you is the political entity that you live in?
I have often thought that, under the right circumstances, I would fight and die for my country as needed.


I recently read the book ‘Stalingrad’ by Antony Beevor. It was a random book I had picked up at a fund-raising event for donkeys. I’m not joking it’s was for the Donkey Sanctuary located just outside of Guelph, Ontario. Anyway, they had a four books for $2 deal and there were a few books I was interested in so I included ‘Stalingrad’ in the mix to fill out the roster. Me buying this book wasn’t a total stretch as I am interested in war history, and WWII history in particular.


Stalingrad is a horrible, horrible, horrible piece of history. Stalingrad was a city in the southern part of the USSR, and was considered the high-point of the German advance into that territory. It is also considered the turning point in the war, as Soviet soldiers eventually surrounded the entire German 6th army and killed or captured the entire body.


What these people did to each other, though, is a horrific testament to the cruelty that humans can exhibit. The city was virtually turned into rubble. The soldiers were forced to fight under the extreme conditions of Russian winter without proper equipment and winter clothing. Combat was constant and in close quarters. Battle stress ran high.


Desertion rates on both sides was high; soldiers trying to figure out some way to escape the horrific life they found themselves in. Deserters were, of course, shot by their own countrymen if caught. Most of these soldiers really didn’t want to be there. I’m sure there were examples of soldiers happy to fight and die and kill for their country, but the book is rife with examples of the pain and the stress and the hesitancy of these men and women.


It is known that this was not only a battle for the geographic space that Stalingrad occupied, but also an ideological battle between two megalomaniacs named Hitler and Stalin; the city was named after one of them, after all; see if you can guess who.


And all these lives were affected due to the desires of these two men. “Fight for your country,” they would cry, urging the common soldier forward to kill or be killed, motivating the brave warriors onwards towards the victory that would give glory to their leader.


But this was a battle between a fascist and a communist state, you may say, and it is irrelevant to the sensibilities of a True Democracy. True, but do you really believe that democracies are any better? The siren call for the children of democracies to defend the freedoms of their Nation is sung very loud by the freely elected leaders, when needs be. Democracies have also been known to conscript unwilling participants to fight for their nation in foreign wars which were meaningless to most of its citizens.


So, would I fight and die and kill for Canada? I still believe that under the right circumstances I would. I would fight to defend the principles of my countrymen. But if I would fight to defend the principles of my countrymen, shouldn’t I also be willing to fight for other humans in other Nations who hold the same principles? Isn’t it better to fight for the principles rather than fight for a political entity that appears to embody those principles?


When I say principles, I don’t mean a particular ideology either. I don’t think anyone should fight for democracy. What you should fight for are the good principles that democracy might contain. Ideology is as bad as religion for inciting team-based violence. Only fundamentalists would urge people to fight or die or kill for a religious philosophy, so who is it, do you think that urges a State’s youth to fight and die and kill for a political ideology, democracy included?

Is there such a thing as a good fight?  Is there ever a good reason to die for something with regards to war?  What circumstances would have to be in play for you to kill another human, legally, due to war?


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State/Nation/Country Canadian Iconography: The Inside Scoop.

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. grannywithapitchfotk  |  October 8, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Hello there

    You may wonder why I’m responding to a two-year-old post. I googled “kill or die for my country” and found this very interesting entry. A couple of days ago I stated in a post I would kill or die for my country. Like you, I would not blindly and ignorantly kill for the sake of killing, but I am willing to stand for the principles and freedoms set forth in our Constitution. Unless you have been living in an underground bunker for the past year I’m sure you are aware of what is going on down here in the U.S. Watching it from the inside breaks my heart and yes, I would be willing to do what I needed to do to keep what I grew up with—for the sake of future generations. Yesterday I received an email chiding me for using the word “kill” right out there in the open for anyone to read. No, I’m not a homicidal maniac. I’m just an ordinary citizen who loves the Constitution and hates the destruction of it. I’ve gone to tea parties and demonstrated peacefully, and I shall continue to do so. But to defend my home, my family, my fellow countrymen, and what my flag stands for, I will stand up and fight, as I’m sure of many of my fellow citizens would. The alternative is unthinkable.

    I like your blog. Good job.


    • 2. C. Fraser  |  October 9, 2009 at 1:54 pm

      Hi Granny,

      Thanks for your reply! The decision to kill is, and should be, a difficult decision. I think the key is to follow compassion first and foremost, and only rely on physical force when no other path makes sense.

      Best to you!

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