All recent reports from the Middle East and Near East have been deeply disturbing.
Hamas is victorious in Palestinian elections. A step backward in any hopes for peace?
Terrorists, including the leader of the USS Cole attack, escape from a Yemeni prison. Were they aided by leaders of the mosque into which they vanished?
Violence continues in Iraq.
And an Iraqi general makes assertions, supported by Israeli intelligence, that all of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were shipped to Syria just before the war, are probably still there and could fall into terrorists' hands.
Deadly protests erupt across the Muslim world over published cartoons denigrating the prophet Muhammad.
Has this outrage been orchestrated by Islamic extremists to exacerbate the clash of civilizations?
In Iran, rogue leaders support terrorism, glorify suicide bombers and demand nuclear rights while calling for Israel's extinction, and demanding that the international community stay clear. Declaring the Holocaust a hoax, President Ahmadinejad announces a contest for anti-Jewish cartoons in his family-owned newspaper. Asserting the apocalypse is only two years away, he says the cataclysmic confrontation between the forces of good and evil will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war, bloodshed and pestilence — after which the 12th Islamic imam, the Mahdi, will lead the world to universal peace, based on the Quran.
With all of this going on, we must unite at home and resolve to lead the world in securing freedoms for future generations worldwide. We must take refuge and strength in the under-reported good news. We must show moderate leaders and young Muslims that there are viable alternatives to oppression and violence.
Elections in Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, though imperfect, like U.S.
elections, promise young Muslims, even women, that they can have a voice, where there once was only submission.
In Iran, two-thirds of the population is younger than 30.
Similar statistics exist throughout the Muslim world. These youths, as throughout history, are the keys to peace.
As they search for truth, they are, of course, exposed to the perverted depictions of America and the West in their own media and in the mosques. But access to the Internet and 22 international satellite networks leaves them no longer totally dependent on al-Jazeera and flawed teachings of religious extremists.
We must do our part to contribute to the global media in ways that depict the goodness of Western values and practices, instead of flooding the airways with partisan attacks against our own leaders.
Hopefully, accurate media presentations will help many young Muslims discover that they are oppressed not by Western infidels, but by fellow Muslims, that Osama bin Laden and his kind are false prophets who have hijacked their religion and falsely condemned outsiders as the cause of their problems and that kidnappings and terrorist slaughter of civilians are contrary to the Quran.
Young Muslims are seeing Saddam Hussein tried in open court, a right he never extended to the hundreds of thousands he slaughtered. Some are hearing for the first time about Saddam's tortures and rapes, his invasions of the Kurds, Kuwaitis and Iranians, his lust for, possession and use of WMDs against innocent civilians.
They must now learn that fellow Muslims are free to worship in the land of the jihadi's mortal enemy, the United States, and that Americans are not demons who torture prisoners or flush Qurans down the toilet, but compassionate people who sacrifice to release distant neighbors from oppression.
Global terrorism will not surrender to democracy in 2006.
But via American sacrifice and a more open media, the world where terrorists can recruit, train, seek WMDs and plot mass murder is getting smaller.
Ultimately, victory will require strong, visionary, transformational, political leadership in the Islamic world and spiritual leaders like Gandhi, Martin Luther and Pope John Paul. When such leaders emerge, young Muslims will follow. Then, just as fascism, communism and genocide are vanishing worldwide, so too will Islamic jihad fade into the dustbowls of history.
To expedite this demise, we must work on the causes of terrorism: the poverty, lack of purpose and despair that fuels bigotry and hatred. America must also help eradicate HIV/AIDS, malaria, slavery, human trafficking and totalitarianism.
Our economic, technological and military leadership place upon us an enormous responsibility to lead the world in these noble missions. All we need do is unite, focus outside on the perpetrators of hate and on the causes of terrorism and remain resolved.
Shame on us as a nation if we let partisan politics get in the way.
Jack Tymann retired as president of Westinghouse International and later founded Homeland Security Partners, focused on counterterrorism technologies. He was chairman of the Clinton-Mubarak Presidents' Council for the Middle East from 1993 to 2001 and now serves on the board of AMIDEAST, promoting mutual understanding between Americans and the Arab world.