In her Jan. 16 column "War and the Male System" {Metro}, Judy Mann would have us believe that a system created by white males, and which presumably embodies their character, is based on domination and deceit and is incapable of recognizing individuals as peers or even as fellow human beings, while a female (is there a racial requirement here as well?) system would be based on mutual understanding, nurturing, agreement, sweetness and light.

She fails to address why white males are to be stigmatized with the responsibility for war when males in Africa, Asia and South America have been slaughtering each other with regularity throughout recorded history. Nor does she consider that numerous female rulers such as Cleopatra, English Queens Elizabeth I, "Bloody Mary" and Victoria, Austrian Empress Maria Theresa, Catherine the Great and the present-day Margaret Thatcher and Benazir Bhutto have conducted wars, engaged in destablization of rivals and generally played the cynical game of politics as well as any man.

Perhaps Judy Mann has never met a woman who negotiated in less than complete good faith, and perhaps she has never known a man who was willing to do what he believed correct even at personal cost, because a fellow human being was depending on him. If she hasn't, she must live in a world much different from that most of us know -- a world composed of fragile, uncertain and confused human beings, most of whom try to treat each other as well as possible.

The evils that Judy Mann ascribes to the white-male system come from fundamental flaws that belong to humanity as a whole, and which have many names: greed, envy, rage, fear and hubris to provide a few. They form the crux of the human dilemma and have been collectively described in less "enlightened" times as sin.

It is a worthy subject to reflect on, for it reminds us that no one group has a monopoly on evil or the suffering and heartache that stem from it. To focus on gender and race at the expense of our common humanity can only divide us with hate and fear at a time when the compassion we all deserve as human beings should bring us together. DAVID PINKSTON Germantown