There's no moaning here about President Bush's plans to go to war in Iraq.

Whether it's the construction workers nursing warm beers inside the smoky open-air chicken grills or the women hunched for hours in the hair-braiding kiosks, Ivorians in this city once dubbed the Paris of West Africa are outspoken about their feelings on America.

"I am in love with the United States. They are right. The French are wrong," says Kofi Herve, a 30-year-old pharmacist who is wearing an American flag T-shirt under his white coat. "I want everything American. I want, how do you say, a bagel? I want a burger rather than a croque-monsieur."

While citizens of many countries are distressed, angry even over President Bush's drive to topple Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Ivorians are unfurling American flags instead of burning them.

That's because next to France, the United States looks good.

Americans may be upset lately with Jacques Chirac's refusal to back Bush's plans in Iraq. But their anger pales next to the unhappiness here. After decades of colonial rule and the French government's intervention in Ivory Coast's months-long civil war -- not to mention what locals here say are way too many French cheese shops -- Ivorians have just plain had it with the French.

"Au revoir, France, goodbye," protesters chanted when thousands flooded the streets of Abidjan in January to express their frustration with a French-brokered peace pact. They rallied at the American Embassy, mouthed the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner" and smeared red, white and blue paint on their chests and faces.

American diplomats thought the feelings were a fluke -- faux adoration, if you will. They didn't even come out to talk to the protesters.

"All this American gaga will end," says a U.S. diplomat who asked not to be named. "They have French on their brains. They will come back to the French soon. They will forget about us."

While American culture has always been popular, Ivorians speak French and few know any English. Paris therefore has dominated the movie screens, magazines and music of this nation of 16 million.

But two months later, many Ivorians say they are behind America now more than ever. Posters showing Bush with a halo hang in the market. On the same posters are pictures of a devilish-looking Chirac hugging Osama bin Laden.

Ivorians are also posting pictures of famous black Americans like poet Maya Angelou and abolitionist Frederick Douglass on kiosks around the city and blasting Britney Spears from radios tuned to the Voice of America.

"We want France out and America in," says Charles Ble Goude, who is the government-backed leader of a student movement that supports President Laurent Gbagbo. He wore a hat with an emblem of the American flag sewn on and said he now prefers American beer to French wine. "We want someone new. Enough with the French. Let's learn some English."

"Who knows English?" he asked a crowd of protesters downtown recently.

Some of the resentment comes from the presence of 3,000 French troops separating the two sides in Ivory Coast's civil war, which has split the nation since an attempted coup on Sept. 19 sparked the fighting. The French also keep making statements and holding press conferences on the country's war -- from Paris.

A rebel group in the largely Muslim north, the Patriotic Movement of the Ivory Coast, was able to take over nearly half of the country. The largely Christian south remains under government control.

Each side accuses the French of favoring the other. The rebels claim they would have taken over the country by now if it weren't for the French troops. But those feelings haven't translated into pro-Americanism among the rebels because they largely feel the French-sponsored peace pact, which allows them to have several government posts, was fair.

In the south, though, where the rebels are called "terrorists" and patriotic marches have been encouraged, it's down with the French and power to the Americans. Some protesters felt so strongly about perceived injustice in the peace pact that they attempted to torch the French Embassy and attacked the city's international airport as French families attempted to flee.

But this anger has been festering for years. Many Ivorian intellectuals whisper what many consider an embarrassing truth: Their country, although officially independent since 1960, is still really a French colony.

Until the recent evacuations, there were 20,000 French nationals here. French companies own the airport, the ports and the country's cocoa industry, which is the largest in the world. French marionette shops and frilly French lingerie stores line the boulevards here. There is even a French-owned yogurt factory in Abidjan.

French poodles are imported and sold in pet stores. And croissants are made at the local patisseries, present in even the poorest neighborhoods.

"I'm just glad we haven't started wearing berets," says Zrango Rathurin, a 31-year-old Ivorian laborer sipping a latte with his friends, lamenting the French presence and praising America. "We feel a solidarity with Americans. The French are being unfair to them the same way they are being unfair to us."

"When was the last time Europe cared about Africa, anyway?" says Rathurin to cheers from his friends. "We can disagree with Europe. They messed us up to begin with."

As for fears of American cultural dominance, such things don't seem to bother people who have been eating Yoplait alongside local dishes of boiled yam and cassava.

"We are really for America. I mean, we have always loved American movies and music. And now there is that, um, how do you say, J. Lo, singer?," says Noel Yao, international editor of the government newspaper, Fraternite Matin in Abidjan.

He raises his eyebrows, shrugs and grins. "After America takes over Iraq, they can come and help us out for a while."

Ivorians showed their support for America in a January march. France's actions in the former colony's civil war have alienated many there.