Each morning in Iraq, thousands of servicemembers wake up to running water, organized PT, a well-prepared breakfast and, most importantly, security. We have roughly 120,000 troops on a battlefield where the ball is no longer in play. We have hundreds of MRAPs, countless HMMWVs, Howitzers, Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, UH-58 Kiowas, UH-60 Black Hawks, AH-64 Apaches and Brigade Combat Teams waiting patiently to leave. There is scarcely a mission outside the wire. Our task has become to move everything south and, ultimately, out of theater.

October brings clear, blue skies and the searing rays of the August sun have subsided to a more temperate setting here in northern Iraq. Every day, I enjoy an excellent meal in a well-lit, staffed and decorated dining facility. I am joined by hundreds of others who also enjoy the spread and the security. As I leave the DFAC, I pick up Stars and Stripes. Lately, the articles that capture the front page have made me restless.

I can’t sit here idle while my brothers and sisters are dying in Afghanistan. They have platoons of soldiers trying desperately to hold a tiny scratch of bare earth from a resurgent Taliban that occupies the ridges and coves by the thousands. In Iraq, we have brigades of infantry doing virtually nothing.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal wants 40,000 more troops and he needs them yesterday.

America, if you are wondering whether to send more troops or not, let me help you: We are already here. Instead of packing up Iraq and heading south, we need to push east to join our fellow soldiers in Afghanistan. Let us do our job, instead of handcuffing us to the goal post; let us in the game and we will end it.

Staff Sgt. Nathanael JonesMosul, Iraq

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