Hi Kat, this is part of something I said in the Xenophobia thread, but it addresses your point about war being nastier because of its remoteness,
"The idea that warfare would be lessened if combat was face to face has been discussed, amongst others, by people as diverse as Desmond Morris and John Keegan, but whilst the press concentrates on the technology and remoteness of aerial bombardment and so called precision munitions, lets not forget that wars ultimately are still fought and won by the PBI, who still have to fight hand to hand, stick bayonets in people, and shoot them at ranges of feet or less."
I think that what is needed is something more fundamental and much harder than refraining from labelling others; it's to stop labelling ourselves. If we could stop believing that we are Irish, Serb, English, Negro or whatever, and insisting on our right to perpetuate our culture, race, country; then 90% of the reasons wars are fought disappears.
Can't see it happening though.