K-State's Walter Schumm has analyzed whether defeat of Hussein reduced suicide attacks in Israel

October 07, 2004

MANHATTAN, KAN. -- In his debate with Sen. John Edwards Tuesday night, Vice President Dick Cheney speculated that the decrease in suicide attacks in Israel is related to the defeat of Saddam Hussein. Although some of Cheney's assertations in the debate have been called into question, this one might have some evidence to back it up. Walter Schumm, a professor of family studies and human services at Kansas State University, has performed a statistical analysis on the data.

Schumm analyzed the consequences of suicide bombing attacks on Israel between March 2001 and August 2004 in his recent study. He found that, on average per month during this period, there were fewer overall casualties after the invasion than before it. Schumm said that as many as 1,100 casualties may have been prevented.

Iraq was only one of a few countries that paid money to families of Palestinians who fought against Israelis, Schumm noted. His primary research question was whether Hussein's payments served as a motivational incentive that would encourage a greater number of suicide bombings.

If the invasion was successful in reducing the fatalities in Israel, this particular justification for war with Iraq would be validated, Schumm said.

Schumm notes that some potential suicide bombers in Palestine may have just shifted operations to Iraq where they could directly attack U.S. interests and soldiers. The reduction also could have been a result of improved antiterrorism intelligence within Israeli security forces.

Schumm's findings were accepted for publication in Psychological Reports in October.

Schumm has studied the effects of military deployment on marriage, relationships between military spouses and how families cope when loved ones are deployed. Schumm also is a retired Army Reserve Colonel, serving for more than 30 years. His other research interests include evaluation of premarital counseling, Gulf War illnesses, marital satisfaction, family measurement, religion and family life and building a healthy and happy marriage for young couples. He has conducted studies on the Gulf War, the Titanic, Pearl Harbor and the impacts of reserve duty on family life.

Kansas State University

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