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Wisdom, Law, and VirtueEssays in Thomistic Ethics$
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Lawrence Dewan

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780823227969

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823227969.001.0001

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Suicide as a Belligerent Tactic: Thomistic Reflections

Suicide as a Belligerent Tactic: Thomistic Reflections

(p.336) Chapter 20 Suicide as a Belligerent Tactic: Thomistic Reflections
Wisdom, Law, and Virtue

Lawrence Dewan

Fordham University Press

This chapter discusses the use of suicide bombing and its relation to just-war theory. It argues that for St. Thomas, suicide is always wrong, and so is wrong as a tactic in a just war. People, and in particular those involved in war, need protection against the pro-suicide propaganda. The position of the soldier who is a good combatant is that he is ready to risk his life; he is therefore somewhat susceptible to the argument that suicide itself is not so different. The strategic advantage, that is, the technical advantage, to the general in having suicides at his disposal is evident. Thus it is imperative that the absolute ban, witnessed from classical times, be strongly asserted.

Keywords:   Thomas Aquinas, suicide bombings, war, Summa theologiae, just-war theory

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