The war in Ukraine raises again many different questions about war as another means to govern, the role of soldiers, and the aspect of killing people.
Originally armies were mostly set up as professional forces to serve a leader and get paid for everything that comes with offensive and defensive wars. Crimes against War standards were not on the mind of anyone only victory or defeat matters to leaders, citizens, and Judges.
In some cases, citizens especially those from poor backgrounds were forced into armies by hunger or the order of leaders (Kings and other lower Royals). They had to fight no matter what otherwise their own people would have taken their life to keep discipline in the army and goals working for Kings and Royals.
When the world had witnessed the two World Wars of the last centuries things gradually began to change. Geneva Convention was agreed to form the rules of brutal conflicts such as wars. Any violation is punishable but member states are sovereign countries after all. Punishment only works morally with the hope atrocities might not happen ever again but not with punishment that will ultimately hurt leaders or nations except for prominent few cases in the Den Haag (Vladimir Putin will most likely be not facing Judges in Den Haag, so the former US Presidents).
Many armies around the world have changed their narrative to call each male citizen by force to take up army training or serve in military forces with the normal exception of North Korea, Israel, and alike.
Any citizen that is heading to a war of aggression is aware he is ordered to kill others who had done him personally no harm nor his family or nation but the war and killings are by orders of others having ambitious plans for their personal place in history from the comfort of their homes and state offices.
In the past, much has been discussed and argued about the role and responsibilities of individual soldiers in a collective deadly fight against another nation, not in self-defense. Combat computer games with crisps and beer next to the computer or operating drones from inside warm military operation vehicles and behind tanks killing people kilometers far away is still very difficult compared to the man-to-man wars of ancient times, no more personal but a technicality while deadly or bloody for the victims.
This situation and trend make it even more pressing for citizens to think about what they are doing in society and the individual responsibility they have when being at the front of war and killing other people's human life. To say they were forced to do it is no longer good enough as others bring up the wisdom and moral strength to defect and stay in a foreign country away from the killings of others.
The Peace Movement of the 1980s drew a scenario that was seen by many as too romantic and unrealistic: Imagine there is war and no one attends.
NATO countries have decided to invest more of their GDP into the armed forces. Like the NATO double treaty of the 1980s, this is yet another arms race through the massive oak tree backdoor but not the needed solution. As much as massive armies can stop potential aggressors from taking mankind to bloodshed and force leaders to sit around the negotiation table history has let us witness that only when the pain inflicted is felt personally do things have a chance to change. Responsibility for killing others as the aggressor in a war is first and foremost personal no matter the system and methods behind it.
When mankind can teach this into the hearts and minds of all humans around planet Earth like Environment Activists do in their corner a realistic new scenario as envisioned by the Peace Movement of the 1980s will be a vital step ahead.