In the runup to the Iraq war, lots of people, including many in the United States, were opposed to it. While they may have understood the battle in Afghanistan, at least at that time, fighting a war in Iraq seemed off track with our stated mission to respond to 9/11. The governments of France and Germany, suppportive of the Afghan war, opposed the incursion into Iraq. As a result, France singularly caught a lot of backlash, not just from the punditry, but even from the US Congress, which renamed French fries “freedom fries”, and other such silliness.
I’ve come to believe that those folks had confused American patriotism with a blind and scary form of nationalism.
So I apologize for the irrationality of my fellow countryfolk. Know that this was not a universally held antipathy. In fact, when I was at a massive antiwar rally in New York City on February 15, 2003, about a month before the war began, there were folks from France who were cheered by the crowd.
I can’t begin to further explain the antipathy, so I won’t even try.