Yaroslav Trofimov, a reporter on the Wall Street Journal, writes in Slate that anti-American feelings have been inflamed by the war in Iraq. (Must have missed that one.) As an example, he presents... Bosnia. Under the hed Those Ungrateful Bosnians (“We liberated them. Why are they still against us?”) he makes the argument that the deployment of a mine-clearing unit has proven so unpopular that it has pushed the Bosnian Muslims' positive feelings towards the U.S. to the sidelines:
The debate over the Iraq expedition has bared the extent of anti-American feelings that flourish these days, even in such unlikely places as Sarajevo. As reactions in Bosnia show, the U.S. engagement in Iraq, which was meant to convert the Muslim world to America's gospel by building up a model democracy there, has so far achieved precisely the opposite result: Anger over Iraq's unfolding tragedy has superseded the memories of America's own past good deeds in Muslim lands.I find it rather curious to claim that the Iraq war was “meant to convert the Muslim world to America's gospel” -- I always thought it was about removing Saddam Hussein. It's not like Wolfie and Dick and Rummie were sitting around one day thinking, gee, how can we get the Bosnians to love us even more, and then one of them came up with the brilliant idea to invade Iraq.
But quite apart from this gaffe, the article just re-runs stereotypes we've seen time and again (and I bet you this article will be brandished by nationalist Serbs and Croats for months to come as proof of what they've been saying all along -- the Muslims were dangerous and had to be stopped at all cost, and why does the West reject us when in fact we just did what was needed to preserve Western culture, blah-blah-blah): of bearded Islamist publishers, fiery preachers at the main mosque, and Bosnians fighting in Fallujah (okay, that's a new one, I think). What the piece does get right, however, is the shameless double-dealing of the reis ul-ulema, Mustafa Ceric, who loves to present himself as a voice of moderation towards Westerners only to turn around and pander to the less moderate feelings of some of his supporters.
In any case, it seems to me that most Bosnians -- Muslim or otherwise -- care most about what happened in their country and about the current situation there rather than about Iraq or even Palestine. Heck, they didn't even care about Kosovo when the Serbs went on a rampage there in 1998-99. Human nature, perhaps?