(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama’s war policies in Iraq and Afghanistan are criminal and worse than those of former President Bush, according to Adam Kokesh, who serves on the board of directors of the anti-war group Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW).
Kokesh and other members of the IVAW gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to call on Obama to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also launched a 24-hour vigil/demonstration called “Operation No Change” to mark the sixth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War (March 20, 2003).
“In some ways, Obama is worse than Bush,” Kokesh told CNSNews.com. “Bush wasn’t proposing a surge in Afghanistan – and Bush was talking about a quicker timeline for withdrawal than Obama.”
“That’s why we called this ‘Operation No Change,’” said Kokesh. “What Obama is doing with our foreign policy on a fundamental level is not change. Though we are going to re-label the troops ‘non-combat troops,’ they are still out there, and clearly they are still fighting for American interests.”
Kokesh also said that he “absolutely” thinks Obama’s war policies are criminal and that
he has not been surprised by Obama’s actions since he became president in January.
“I’m not disappointed because I never had any hope in him,” said Kokesh. “All of the predications of those of us who read the fine print about Obama have come true. During the primaries he sold himself very vaguely as a peace candidate and said he wanted to end the occupations.
“But when that congealed into something specific, I could see right away he really had no interest in reforming foreign policy or ending these occupations,” Kokesh said.
Tracy Harmon, however, who is an IVAW member, told CNSNews.com that while she has been disappointed in Obama’s actions since his inauguration, she thinks he is sincere about his intention to withdraw from Iraq.
“I do believe him,” said Harmon. “I think he wants to get us out but it has taken longer – he extended the pullout date by three months.”
Harmon said that Obama’s decision to send a surge into Afghanistan demonstrates that he is not a “peace president” as many voters may have thought.
“For the most part, it is a disillusionment,” she said. “He is seen as an anti-war president, but he is starting a whole new war in Afghanistan.”
When it comes to war policy, there were a number of presidential candidates who would have been better than Obama, including 2008 candidates Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), said Kokesh.