Originally Posted by jimmac
You mean Bush wanted to believe it. Saddam had been a friend/thorn in our side since the late 70's. There was no pressing reason ( no WMD remember ) to attack then ( other than to distract from Bush's failure as a president ).
I don't see that you offer any support for your belief, other than a prejudice and desire to believe an emotionally satisfying charge. Here's a catchup:
Saddam had been a counter balance after the 79 Iranian revolution, and American foreign policy found it useful to slightly tilt in his direction during Saddam's long war with revolutionary Iran. However, I need to point out that a friend is a nation like the UK, not when we pursue an opportunistic but limited Machiavellian tilt for anti-Iranian purposes. If anything, the American foreign policy establishment saw a continued and unresolved warfare between the parties somewhat satisfying and useful (although a danger to gulf oil shipping).
Anyway, there were several pressing reasons to attack Iraq. a) the "regime change" decade of policy by Clinton was getting nowhere b) 9/11 introduced the potential of aid to world-wide terrorists by Saddam (something he had already done with others) c) the Saudis were pressing the end of the no-fly zone protection of Kurds and the Marsh Arabs, and the withdrawal of US bases d) Saddam had ended inspections, sabre rattled about his weapons programs. e) Europeans were pressing hard to end sanctions (starving children propoganda).
Not only did Bush want to believe, but so did his advisor's, the CIA, and others. Everyone, after 9/11, tended to give more credibility to intelligence than was warranted.
Finally, given the knowledge at the time, I think invading Iraq was the only prudent choice left. It was obvious that Europeans were pressing hard to end the embargo (lots of propaganda about starving Iraqi children) while Saudis were pressing hard to shut down bases. Even if there was only a 1 in 5 or 1 in 10 chance that Saddam was developing atomic weapons, not invading could have tragic and unacceptable consequences.
As to the oil which isn't ours they wanted to gain support for a war by false advertising. If the Bush administration had said " We need to secure the oil in the region " Or " We need to free the Iraqi people from their tyrant " ( one of many like this in the world ) they would have never gotten the support for a preemptive strike. Wrong and beneath the dignity of this great country ( which became the bad guys that day ). The cost to ourselves and our image to the rest of the world was high. Bad move and wrong. End of story.
Of course regions oil is not ours. However, the security of the oil supplies of the neighbors of Iraq is important. Saddam threatened that security and the region and without him we would be rid of a future invasion, like the one Saddam launched 10 years earlier. However, you are correct that had Bush cast the war as only one to protect Saudi and other oil supplies then the support would have not been sufficient.
Given what we knew then, it was the correct action - no doubt about it. And even given what we know now, it may have been appropriate. In fact, it is likely we would now face a nuclear armed Iraq by now if we had not.