Posthaste or Post Hoc?
Friday: Reading about a horrendous instance of a suicide bombing in Baghdad, I wonder if Cliff Kirkpatrick will ever fulfill the responsibility given him by General Assembly "to take every opportunity" to condemn such crimes against humanity. So I write him, somewhat late in my West Coast day, which is quite late in his day.
Saturday: By midday, I have a response back from Kirkpatrick's right-hand man, Vernon Broyles, with a public letter in response, purportedly written by Kirkpatrick--from Kenya, nonetheless! Wow! Instant response! It is the weekend, however, and of course it won't be posted on the PCUSA web site until at least Monday.
Monday: No posting appears. Broyles is out and Kirkpatrick is traveling home, I later find out.
Tuesday: I write Broyles to ask about the letter. Broyles replies quickly, attaching a revised letter, which also included the latest Palestinian suicide bombing in Israel. The problem is, the letter has factual errors and other problems, and I point them out to Broyles. But without change, that single letter gets posted on the web by the end of the day. I write a blog posting that night, saying that the statement misses the point by being addressed to the governments of the victims rather than to parties responsible for the bombings or for stopping them.
Wednesday: My blog is picked up in the morning by Presbyweb, making it most public. Kirkpatrick writes a second letter and posts it in the same posting as the previous letter, giving it a new introduction and predating it with Tuesday's date. This second letter is addressed to the President of the Palestinian National Authority, asking him to do what he can to stop the suicide bombings. It's a great letter, finally doing what ought to have been done all along.
Okay, so what am I to make of this? I request a statement, and it is produced within 24 hours. I argue that the statement/letter ought to have addressed the perpetrators or others responsible. Within hours, such a second letter appears mysteriously on the web, where previously there had been only one letter.
One possibility is that the reason and sensibility of my requests produced results posthaste. Woo-hoo!
But there is another logical possibility: My requests merely preceded the two letters from Kirkpatrick, but did not cause them (the old post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy).
Well anyway, a guy can at least hope that he has helped cause one tiny little outbreak of fairness and good sense for a moment. At the end of the day (literally), Clifton Kirkpatrick had done something good and right--and required by the General Assembly. That's what's best.
Thank you for that second letter, Cliff and Vernon! And may I evermore be presented with opportunities to hand out kudos! I'd like that.