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Resolved, for 2003

Some resolutions for America for the New Year.

7:00 AM, Jan 2, 2003 • By LEE BOCKHORN
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IT'S A NEW YEAR, which means it's time for all of us to make our usual bold New Year's resolutions--and promptly break them.

So, rather than futilely resolve once again to acquire washboard abs, stop staying up until 3 a.m. most nights, and learn Italian, I've been thinking instead about some resolutions our country should make for 2003. We Americans have always been a can-do people, after all, so collective resolve in the midst of a maddening world should come naturally to us. No doubt I'm forgetting many worthy goals, but consider the following list a modest beginning:

-Win the war: Speaking of "resolutions," since Iraq's government has baldly defied every U.N. resolution regarding its behavior since the end of the Gulf War, it's time we resolve to end the problem of Saddam Hussein's regime the only practical way possible: End the regime itself, and be prepared for the difficult but necessary task of establishing a functioning post-Saddam Iraq afterward.

In the eyes of the world's thugs, dictators, and terrorists, American strength, resolve, and credibility are now on the line. Look no further than the shenanigans of the North Korean government to see what happens when America ignores gathering dangers and pretends that evil can be placated using a namby-pamby, "carrot and stick" approach--especially one that's all carrot and no stick. Tyrants only understand the stick.

Winning a war requires clarity of purpose and clarity of intellect--most especially, the willingness to call a spade a spade. So let's resolve also to admit the obvious. For example: The only thing "special" about our relationship with Saudi Arabia is that its rulers are especially vile and enthusiastic in their support of those who foment hatred of America. Furthermore, we are waging not just a vague war on "terrorism," but a war against the militant and radical form of Islam that inspires it.

-Put the Brave New World on hold: Is it too much to ask that Congress take some form of action on cloning this year? A full ban would be best, but at the very least, let's follow the advice of the President's Council on Bioethics and pass a four-year moratorium on both reproductive and so-called "research" cloning. Despite the bathetic statements by various Hollywood celebrities and others, no one currently suffering from Parkinson's or any other disease is going to die from a lack of a cure because of a four-year moratorium. Four years just might give us time to cleanse doublespeak and emotional appeals from the cloning discussion--and permit a reasoned national debate about whether the speculative benefits of research cloning outweigh the damage such research would do to our respect for the dignity of all forms of human life.

-Poseurs and loudmouths: Let's resolve to stop paying attention to blowhards, hucksters, and self-important naïfs from all parts of the ideological spectrum. Talk to the hand, Jesse Jackson, Ann Coulter, Michael Moore, Bill Moyers, Pat Buchanan, Jimmy Carter, Hollywood windbags, and every smug anti-American professor on our campuses.

-"It's Up To You, New York, New York": Two resolutions for the powers that be in New York City: First, junk your new draconian ban on smoking in bars and restaurants. Your city and our country face bigger problems right now than a little second-hand smoke. Second: Resolve to find some architects who actually believe in concepts like beauty and nobility to design the buildings and memorial that will arise at the site of the World Trade Center. The postmodern eyesores featured in the proposals unveiled to date are, to say the least, less than inspiring. We can do better.

-Pop culture and more: Let's all resolve to stop listening to the "music" of boy bands and sexpot teen-queen "singers." Let's resolve to stop treating the marital status of people like Jennifer Lopez as a matter of earth-shaking import. (I know I'm asking for a lot here, but a guy can dream, can't he?) And finally--now that you've finished this web column--let's resolve as a nation to stop watching so much TV and spending so much time on the Internet. Do something radical, like read a book, or go outside, or do something for those less fortunate than yourself. There's a whole world out there beyond "reality" shows, video games where you can pretend to commit carjackings, and reading 200 blogs a day. Go discover it, my fellow Americans.

Happy New Year!

Lee Bockhorn is associate editor at The Weekly Standard.