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Letter: Civilized people condemn all war

Kurdish peshmerga fighters stand guard during airstrikes targeting

Kurdish peshmerga fighters stand guard during airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants at the Khazer checkpoint outside of the city of Irbil in northern Iraq on Aug. 8, 2014. Credit: AP / Khalid Mohammed

Columnist Lane Filler considers wars that have hatred as the motive to be so much worse than those fought for conquest of territory ["Is genocide worse than plain old war?" Opinion, Aug. 13].

I would like to ask him, then, is the murder of five people because of their ethnic identity worse than killing 5,000 in conquest of their land?

Certainly the history of the world is one in which countless wars have been waged for the acquisition of territory, so that practically no land on the planet is in possession of its original owners. That doesn't mean, though, that we should regard such aggression as morally OK. The UN Charter and international law to which civilized persons subscribe say that war should not be started as a way of handling disputes between nations or to carry out political ambitions.

Filler writes that fighting over land "is not pointless," and is "in the service of a goal," whereas killing for hatred is "disgusting." However, those who kill out of hatred also think that such killing is for a goal. While such goals should disgust decent people, so should goals such as grabbing more territory, wealth or power.

Murray A. Gewirtz, Midwood