While not purporting that the entire exercise was a venal ploy to get the oil, i consider it very likely that the oil was a major factor with important people within the administration.
I agree with you Set. There were some higher motives, such as the removal of probably the worst enemy of Israel. And setting up Iraq as a pro westerm Muslim democracy as an example (just how naive that was is now apparant...Bush knew nothing about Iraq apart from o.. and never even thought to consult us Brits, arch imperialists, who even invented the modern state of Iraq for ***** sake!).
But the fact is
a Peak Oil production is here, or just around the corner
b Demand for oil is set to rise (China)
c Iraq has lots of oil AND
d Is right in the middle of where most of the worlds oil comes from
e AND offers a convenient pipeline route from land locked Caspian/Caucasus oil fields to the Persian Gulf.
It is my view that America is securing and using all oil supplies around the world first before having to fall back on the oil nearer home. It makes a lot of sense. The oil is running out, but the world's most profligate consumer will have secure supplies right to the end. The long term solution is the hydrogen economy from carbon neutral sources. But making sure America retains a firm grip on whatever oil it can NOW means the transition can be relatively gradual and painless.
Anyway that's the plan. Whether or not the other 95% of the population will allow you to get away with it is another matter.