One can only solve the mystery of how George W. Bush became President - and inflicted so much damage - by taking into account the collaboration of Washington's political and media Establishments, notes Robert Parry.
Eight Israeli human rights groups came together Tuesday to demand the state investigate the army's behaviour in the deadly 22-day assault on the Gaza Strip.
They urged prosecutor general Menachem Mazuz, who is also the government legal adviser, to act "given the scale of the casualties among the civilian population during Operation Cast Lead."
Human rights group Amnesty International accuses Israel of war crimes, saying its use of white phosphorus shells in Gaza was indiscriminate.
"Such extensive use of this weapon in Gaza's densely populated residential neighborhoods is inherently indiscriminate," Donatella Rovera, a Middle East researcher with Amnesty International, said in a statement on Monday.
"Its repeated use in this manner, despite evidence of its indiscriminate effects and its toll on civilians, is a war crime," she charged.
It's the sight many Americans had long been waiting for.
Boarding a helicopter yesterday, George Bush and his wife Laura waved goodbye to a small crowd, a simple gesture closing a controversial eight years in office.
Mr Bush had been greeted with some boos from the two-million strong crowd at the inauguration of new U.S. President Barack Obama - a strong indication of the bitterness with which some, though not all, Americans view the former leader of the free world.
Doctors in Gaza described today how they had struggled to treat dozens of patients with terrible and unusually deadly burns consistent with white phosphorus weapons, during Israel's three-week war in Gaza.
Nafiz Abu Shabaan, head of the burns unit at Shifa hospital and the most senior burns surgeon in Gaza, said 60 to 70 patients had died in his unit during the war from severe burns that were unlike any injury he had previously seen.
For once-powerful Republicans, there were two ways to get through today's inauguration -- and neither was entirely without pain.
Some, like former White House aide Suhail Khan, opted to stay in town and witness first-hand the historic transition, even though it meant hearing rebukes from the incoming president and sometimes worse from the inaugural crowd.
"The one sorry note were the boos for President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Justice Roberts," said Khan, who was among a group of former Bush aides standing just a short distance from Obama as he was sworn in by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
"And singing the goodbye song," Khan said. "That was uncalled for."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he is appalled by Israeli attacks on a UN compound in Gaza after seeing the destruction for himself.
Mr Ban said that those responsible should be held accountable and demanded a "full investigation" through proper judiciary systems. He was speaking in front of the smouldering remains of the UN food warehouse destroyed by Israeli shells.
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