"St. Thomas Aquinas"

Essay by buonobtCollege, UndergraduateA+, December 2002

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Reaction to the "Summa Theologica"

In his third Article, St. Thomas Aquinas deals with the question as to whether it is "lawful to lay ambushes in war." (Aquinas, 506) This can be interpreted in many ways today since the weapons that our army possesses often leads to wars where the soldiers never see each other (like the Air campaign in Iraq). This more generalized view of technology in warfare could therefore be seen as a broad interpretation of what Aquinas might consider an ambush. Therefore Aquinas would consider our use of technology as "a kind of deception" and so our wars would "seem to pertain to injustice." (Aquinas, 506) Aquinas would claim that since "our enemy is our neighbor" (Aquinas, 507) we should not implement tactics that we would not want to see done to us. He would even condemn our fighting style as a violation of "certain rights of war and covenants, which ought to be observed even among enemies."

(Aquinas, 507)

Aquinas' view with respect to diplomacy might however claim that opponents in diplomatic disputes are equally matched since they both have similar potential in that they both embrace reasoning. Diplomacy would therefore seem like the probable alternative to conflict for Aquinas since it seeks avoid the deception and lies that are associated with what we broadly term as technology in warfare. Aquinas' opinion with respect to war would therefore seem to mold itself into one in which the side that has the most faith and devotion towards winning should triumph. He might also state that no hate or ill will should evolve out of the conflict among the soldiers when he says, "Our enemy is our neighbor."

The devotion and faith that one may have towards winning a war are not left out when one...