At every stage, the administration picked the most convenient rationale for war. First was the connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda; when that didn’t pan out, it was the threat posed by Iraq’s WMD. When they didn’t turn up, it was liberating the Iraqi people.
While the public was distracted by this procession of justifications alternately taken up and conveniently abandoned, the real reasons never saw the light of day. Would Americans have supported a war for increased control of the Middle East and an American empire based on military domination? Bush administration officials who wanted war knew better than to ask.