In an eerie echo of events three years ago, the Bush administration is raising the specter of a U.S. pre-emptive military strike over allegations Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

Earlier this month, after long discussions with European nations over possible incentives to end programs it says are for peaceful energy production, Iran resumed converting uranium in a process that precedes both energy and weapons production. Iran, which Bush calls part of the “axis of evil,” has long been targeted by the U.S. far right.

“As I say, all options are on the table,” Bush said during an Aug. 12 interview on Israeli television. “The use of force is the last option for any president and you know, we’ve used force in the recent past to secure our country.”

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who opposed the invasion of Iraq, immediately picked up the parallel. “Let’s take the military option off the table. We’ve seen it doesn’t work,” he told an audience in Hanover the next day.

Both chilling similarities with Iraq and glaring inconsistencies lurk behind Bush’s latest threats.

• As a signer of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran resumed its work watched by surveillance cameras it asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to install.

• U.S. allies Israel, India and Pakistan — all of which have nuclear weapons — did not sign the NPT. They are not threatened with attack.

• Neither a recent National Intelligence Estimate nor UN inspectors have found credible evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

• Even the Bush administration admits enriching uranium does not violate the NPT.

• Washington is itself in violation of the treaty, which specifies that the five original nuclear powers must act to cut and finally eliminate their arsenals. The Bush administration is hell-bent on developing giant bunker-busters and mini-nukes.

If the U.S. administration is worried about the proliferation of nuclear weapons, it can lead the process of complete nuclear disarmament. Most of the world’s people, including a solid majority of Americans, believe no nation should have the power to end life as we know it.

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