Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
The question of whether the war was justified can best be understood as a conflict between the moral philosophies of Immanuel Kant and those of Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill and the utilitarians. Kant argued that in order to be morally justifiable, actions had to be universalizable -- susceptible to becoming universal laws applicable to any individuals. If it is right for A to steal from B, then it will have to be right for B to steal from A, or C from D. Kant's categorical imperative assumes a moral universe of equal beings, all of whom would be subject to the same rights and prohibitions. In making moral choices, Kant contended, human beings treat one another as "ends in themselves." By contrast, the utilitarians, in their most basic form, argued that moral decisions must be judged according to whether they maximize happiness.
Kant and the utilitarians were not trying to say what should be moral but to describe the underlying logic by which we justify our actions. In this respect, each philosophy had its limitations. For instance, a utilitarian could conceivably justify enslaving another human being if it turned out to contribute to the overall sum of human happiness. A Kantian might justify pacifism as universalizable even when his country was threatened with extinction. Ultimately the two principles of moral decision making act as limits on each other: Both must be present in some form for an action to be morally justified. Decisions must respect rights, and they must not make things intolerably worse.