What were the reasons President George W. Bush gave for invading Iraq?
This is a fairly complex issue. The belief at the time was that Saddam Hussein, the leader of Iraq, posed a significant threat to the United States. Using information that was gleaned from a variety of sources, evidence and analysis was presented which suggested that the presence of weapons of mass destruction, the capacity to develop more of these devices, as well as assertions that suggested Hussein planned on using these against the United States. At the same time, others in the administration suggested that the reasons to enter Iraq could be represented by the positive side of action. Arguing to the American public that we would be "greeted as liberators" as well as access to oil reserves that would "greatly reduce the price of gasoline in America," the analysis for going into war was presented as the advantages of it. This convergence of both helped to make the case for a campaign that proved to be challenging, to say the least.
There are several, but the original justification for going to war was that he possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD's), and might use them on our friends in the region, like Israel, or give them to terrorists like bin Laden.
After a thorough, year and a half long search, we found that he had none, and under long term questioning by a guard in his prison cell, Hussein admitted that he had destroyed them all after the 1991 war.
Other justifications since then have been:
1) to remove a brutal dictator from power
2) to establish a democracy in Iraq
3) to remove al-Qaeda from the country (they were not present until after we invaded)