I have my problems with John McCain, but I have to say there’s one thing you can’t fault the man for: sheer physical courage.

This is a man who had his plane shot out from under him while he was sitting on the flight deck of the USS Forrestal, by a misfired American rocket, and got the hell out of an explosion and fire that killed 134 sailors before it was controlled. He was literally at “ground zero” of that disaster.

Later, he had a second plane shot out from under him, this one by enemy fire, and was injured when he bailed out. Then he spent over five years undergoing various tortures by an enemy that declared that, as a “war criminal,” the Geneva Convention didn’t apply to him, but offered him favorable treatment (as the son of an admiral) if he’d cooperate.

Now, John McCain has gone to Iraq and met with military leaders and Iraqi government officials.

Apparently, Iraq was a tad too tame for him, so he went somewhere that might be a little more exciting and dangerous — Sderot, in Israel.

(Hat tip: Soccer Dad, at Meryl Yourish’s site)

For years, the Palestinians have fired literally thousands of rockets and mortar shells into Sderot, with an average of ten per day over the past three months. Nothing ever makes it stop; it slows down sometimes, but it never ceases.

Statistically speaking, McCain wasn’t in a great deal of danger. The rockets are unguided, and the Israelis have gotten pretty good at ducking. It’s kind of like standing at the other end of a high school gym while New York’s new governor takes shots with a pistol — the odds are highly against him hitting you, especially if you keep quiet.

But it’s still an intolerable situation.

Plus, can one imagine what would have happened had McCain been injured or killed? While there would have been rejoicing at Democratic Underground and Huffington Post would have to close the comments on any discussion of the matter, it would pretty much kill any national sympathy or support for their cause.

Not that that would have mattered. I suspect that had the people who fire those rockets known that McCain was going to be there, they would have done all they can (which, fortunately, isn’t much — they’re incredibly incompetent) to kill him. And the Palestinians would have rejoiced and pronounced it a great victory.

After all, they overwhelmingly support the massacre of eight religious students — seven of them under 18 — in Jerusalem recently.

The Palestinians, it is often noted, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” And they tend to revel in atrocities that, in the long term, do their cause far more harm than good. And a successful attack on a United States Senator and the Republican presidential nominee presumptive would have them dancing in the streets and handing out treats.

Hmm… I wonder what the world’s response would be if Israel were to announce that they were building a new prison exclusively for Palestinian prisoners in Sderot? I can write Israel’s statement justifying the move:

“Human shields? Nonsense! We’re merely locating the prison near Gaza so they can be near their families. Also, Sderot has been having some economic hardships, what with the constant bombardment, so we hope this will prove a boon to first the construction industry, then employ the guards and other staff a prison requires.”

Way to go, Senator McCain. I still have a lot of problems with your positions on a lot of issues (and I better express them before your odious McCain-Feingold law kicks in and I can’t criticize you without risking a fine or jail), but I have to salute your courage and integrity in going to Sderot.

Ding! Dong! The Witch isn't dead!