Title: Imperial Grunts-America's Military on the Ground by Robert Kaplan. Non-fiction published in Sept 2005 The premise of the book is that America is building its empire around the world by having forces on the ground in numerous countries. The author believes this is a good thing since the only way to spread democracy is to have a presence on the ground. Kaplan travels to many different locations around the world and talks to US military personnel on the ground. He goes from various countries in south and central america to africa and the middle east and talks to the soldiers on the ground. In South and Central America US forces mostly consists of army special forces who are training local troops. Kaplan has a high regard for the SF troopers and believe they are doing an outstanding job with their mission. Kaplan also exposes problems with the missions. Primarily the problems have to do with too much army and political beauracracy. This slows down the decision making on the ground with makes the troops less effective and places them in danger. In Africa, the author again holds the men on the ground in high regard. Unfortunately politics makes them less effective in performing their duty. Kaplan happened to be imbeded with the Marines in Iraq when they took Falluja. He loves the Marines and was in awe of their fighting spirit. Unfortuately he felt they were let down by the political decision to call a cease fire before all the terrorists were hunted down and killed. Imperial Grunts is a good read for those interested in the how and why of our placing troops around the world. It is by no means anti-military and in fact offers pretty good objective insight into what is good and bad about current military operations.