I was reading the paper this morning on my bus ride to work, and it occurred to me that there is another possibility for all the administration's rhetoric about invading Iraq lately. I've always considered just two reasons for it.
First, to scare Iraq into compliance with U.N. weapons inspectors. Didn't think too much of this as Iraq hasn't really shown much interest in allowing them back no matter what pressure the U.S. applies. But it could have been the aim.
Second, to actually invade and overthrow Saddam Hussein. Put a lot of stock that this was Bush's purpose. He's never been one for subtlety. Since he said it, he might have meant it.
But the new possibility that comes to mind is that the drum-beating is designed to get the Europeans to harden their line against Iraq, but not to actually invade. Some European countries have been lax in the pressure they apply on Iraq to remove its weapons programs. If they believe that the U.S. will follow through with the action, they might take actions of their own to isolate Saddam Hussein. I think primarily to forestall U.S. military action and to not appear impotent on the world scene. This would only work though if we followed through on our bluff. If Europe calls our bluff, and we back down and do not invade, then they will be free to treat Iraq however they want with no fear of retaliation by the U.S.