Shipping Out with Thomas Kinkade

In 2004, Thomas Kinkade published reproductions of his painting, Heading Home, a schmaltzy and manipulative piece of classic war propaganda. But the title of Kinkade’s over-sentimental artwork is unhappily far from the truth, it should properly be titled – Shipping Out. With today’s U.S. military casualties in Iraq reaching 3,441 at the time of this article, and with the Pentagon secretly launching a second troop surge that will double the number of combat troops in Iraq this year – Heading Home seems little more than a cruel fantasy.

Painting by Thomas Kinkade

[ Heading Home – Thomas Kinkade. Oil on canvas. 2004. ]

Nonetheless, Thomas Kinkade is not the only one suffering from delusions. Delivering a huge victory to Bush on May 24, the Democratic-controlled Congress approved $120 billion to fund Bush’s war, with Democrats abandoning their insistence on a timetable for the partial withdrawal of US troops in Iraq. This betrayal by the supposed opposition party not only guarantees that carnage in Iraq will continue for years to come, it ignores the will of the American people, who in the November 2006 congressional elections voted-in Democrats as a way of rejecting Bush’s Iraq war policies. As Keith Olbermann said on his MSNBC Countdown show, “The Democratic leadership has agreed to finance the deaths of Americans in a war that has only reduced the security of Americans.” He also asked, “Where are the Democratic presidential hopefuls.” No doubt they are in their respective homes or offices admiring their Thomas Kinkade prints.

This is the one and only time you’ll find a painting by Kinkade posted on my web log, and that’s because I simply wanted to illustrate my article with an image as ill-thought-out as the dim-witted politics behind the occupation of Iraq. On, an official U.S. Department of Defense website, Kinkade said of his work: “The world I paint, I think it’s very affirming of the beliefs of people in this country and of the service people who are overseas waging a war to protect those beliefs.” An interesting statement, particularly in light of the latest polls conducted by FOX News, the Associated Press, CNN, USA Today and Gallup, all showing a majority of Americans in opposition to the war in Iraq. Without a doubt, Thomas Kinkade’s paintings are to art, what George Bush’s imperial fumblings are to statecraft.

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