Many would say Iraq was all about gaining access to the resources in the ground. I believe three other factors out-weighed that reason.
1) Saddam had stopped accepting payment for Iraq’s oil in American dollars, and had switched to being… paid in Euros. If other Middle Eastern countries had followed his lead, the American dollar would have been reduced to a third world currency.
2) With the sanctions about to expire, Iraq’s oil infrastructure could have been restored, Saddam desperately needed money and would have flooded the global markets with Iraq’s oil, this would have caused the price of oil to plunge. Something people like Cheney, Rice, and Bush did not want to see.
3) With no discoveries of large new oil fields in the past decade, the belief is all of the world’s recoverable oil has already been found. Most DC politicians believe that countries like Iraq should hold their reserves until countries like America say they should be tapped.