I commend Rep. Benjamin Gilman ["Ethiopia Needs a Push Toward Peace," op-ed, Jan. 3] not only for his condemnation of Ethiopia's intransigence and warmongering, but also for his insight into the motives behind the Eritrean-Ethiopian conflict, Africa's most murderous war.

He is right that it is "to exact a pound of flesh demanded by a narrow and frightened domestic constituency," a vendetta by a paranoid group for imagined hurts from more than 15 years ago. I am glad that the world is now seeing the hollow cries of "violations" of Ethiopian sovereignty and territorial integrity for what they are: a coverup.

One can also see this vendetta from the ethnic cleansing that has been going on in Ethiopia the past 18 months -- an important dimension to the conflict that must be factored in to understand the way this "narrow and frightened domestic constituency" is exacting its pound of flesh.

The minority regime has deported more than 66,000 ethnic Eritreans, confiscated their property and detained thousands more in ways never seen or imagined in the region before -- actions that have been repeatedly condemned by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the U.N. Commission for Human Rights, the European Union and many other international organizations.

ASGEDE HAGOS

Springfield