And the missile’s pinkie was pointed at the clear blue sky…

You’d think that someone who was once captured and tortured by enemy forces would be scarred by war. You’d think he’d be wary of state-sponsored violence. You’d think he’d be the last person to want to subject innocent civilians to such horrors, but John McCain is nothing if not a maverick.

Sen. John McCain praised Israel on Sunday for what he called restraint in its response to renewed violence in the Gaza conflict.

“The restraint of the Israelis, in my view, is admirable,” the Arizona Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

I’ve never heard anyone call an air-to-surface missile ‘restrained.’ Did it take care not to fly over finishing schools and dance studios? Were its circuits pre-set to ‘continental’? Or ‘cosmopolitan’?

The death toll from Israel’s air attack on the Gaza Strip is continuing to rise with over 120 Palestinians dead. Israel says it wants to put an end to Hamas firing rockets at its citizens. No Israelis have been killed although eight were injured including one seriously when a rocket hit a petrol station in Ashdod.

How do you know you’ve been killed by a polite missile? It holds the roof open for your soul. After you, thank you, you’re too kind.

“Because there haven’t been more Israelis casualties isn’t because Hamas, a terrorist organization, hasn’t tried,” McCain said. “They are indiscriminately targeting civilians, while the Israelis are going so far as warning the people in Gaza on the pending strikes. There’s a dramatic difference.”

There’s a dramatic difference in formalities. That’s true.

Who knows who lived in the two first-floor apartments above a home for eight disabled adults in a neighbourhood of eastern Gaza? Perhaps, as a neighbour suggests, one was a militant with Islamic Jihad who lived there with his family. But the neighbour says he is not sure. What is certain is that the occupant was absent early on Saturday when two Israeli drones “knocked on his roof” – firing warning shots to encourage civilians to vacate the building prior to a strike.

A few minutes later, an Israeli warplane fired a missile into the house. But it did not detonate on the first floor. Instead, it smashed through to the ground floor, where the explosion ripped through the room where five of the disabled people were sleeping, killing two and injuring the others.

A neighbour found one of the dead after he noticed flies buzzing around where she was buried. “A body! A body!” the man shouted. Gingerly he lifted the piece of concrete concealing a curly head of hair, face down in the debris.

Atef Abed, a supervisor with the private charity that runs the home, recognised Suha Abu Saada, 47, as her body was dug out of the rubble, one of her legs missing.

Can’t blame the Israelis for that. They warned the building, ergo the charity for the disabled. ‘You’re about to be blown to smithereens,’ they said, in rooftop missile drone-ese, which is how one demonstrates McCain-pleasing restraint. It’s not exactly the sort of restraint shown by not-blowing-up a bunch of cripples in the middle of the night, but it’s better than nothing. So if you’re a Palestinian paraplegic and you can’t crawl into your wheelchair at 4:30 in the morning to roll yourself out of way of a chivalrous airstrike, it’s your own fault. Nobody will ever want you for a Bridge partner, that’s for sure. Cucumber sandwich?

The number of dead in Gaza reached at least 159, Palestinian medical sources said, the majority of whom were civilians, according to the United Nations agency for humanitarian affairs. More than 1,000 people have been wounded…

The rising death toll has sparked international concern over the proportionality of Israel’s response to rocket fire from Gaza. The rockets have struck deeper into Israel than in past conflicts, but have caused only one serious civilian injury. There have been no Israeli deaths as a direct result of a rocket strike.

Oh heavens now it’s 159 to zero. Mercy rule?

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