President Barack Obama (C) is presented with a jacket by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly (R) as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg looks on during a visit to the Real Time Crime Center at One Police Plaza in New York May 13, 2010.

*Actors and liberal intellectuals joined a list published today of nearly 2,000 people accusing President Barack Obama of allowing human rights violations and war crimes to proceed unchecked.

“Crimes are crimes, no matter who does them,” the statement reads over pictures of Obama and his predecessor George W. Bush due to appear in the New York Review of Books.

The statement, published as a paid advertisement, accuses the Democratic president of continuing Bush’s controversial approach to human rights in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in domestic security. It specifically targets Obama’s decision — reported by US officials — to authorize the killing of a radical Islamic cleric and US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, who is accused of ties to Al-Qaeda in Yemen.

“In some respects this is worse than Bush,” the statement says. “First, because Obama has claimed the right to assassinate American citizens whom he suspects of ‘terrorism,’ merely on the grounds of his own suspicion or that of the CIA, something Bush never claimed publicly.”

Among the signatories are linguist Noam Chomsky, “L.A. Confidential” actor James Cromwell, actor Mark Ruffalo and prominent Bush-era anti-war protestor Cindy Sheehan. By midday Thursday there were 1,804 signatures.

They also blast Obama for having refused “to prosecute any members of the Bush regime who are responsible for war crimes, including some who admitted to waterboarding and other forms of torture, thereby making their actions acceptable for him.”