McChrystal's 'Team America'

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In the Rolling Stone article that kiboshed Gen. Stanley McChrystal's career, writer Michael Hastings notes that longtime confidants of McChrystal who were with him in Afghanistan under the NATO/ISAF force referred to themselves as "Team America," an homage to South Park's balls-out parody of special forces.  (The SOF guys love South Park.)

The general's staff is a handpicked collection of killers, spies, geniuses, patriots, political operators and outright maniacs. There's a former head of British Special Forces, two Navy Seals, an Afghan Special Forces commando, a lawyer, two fighter pilots and at least two dozen combat veterans and counterinsurgency experts. They jokingly refer to themselves as Team America, taking the name from the South Park-esque sendup of military cluelessness, and they pride themselves on their can-do attitude and their disdain for authority. After arriving in Kabul last summer, Team America set about changing the culture of the International Security Assistance Force, as the NATO-led mission is known.

Not only is Hastings' vignette true, but the "collection" of people who identified themselves with Team America had a special patch made for their service. (It was created for them by a small company somewhere in  Missouri.)   Here, for the first time, is an image of the patch that cemented the camaraderie of Team McChrystal. I discovered it on Twitter and verified its validity.

TAFY.jpg

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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