McChrystal Wrote Weird Short Stories in College

Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s shit-talking in Rolling Stone has caused a massive flap in Washington, and while his insubordination is obviously the larger story, the article details a number of the general’s other idiosyncrasies. For example: while at West Point, McChrystal was the managing editor of the school’s literary magazine, The Pointer and wrote seven short stories for the publication.

McChrystal came from a distinguished military family and, like John McCain before him, rebelled against his legacy in college. Cited for drinking and partying, he was relatively undistinguished academically though, according to the article, his fiction would “eerily foreshadow many of the issues he would confront in his career.”

In one tale, a fictional officer complains about the difficulty of training foreign troops to fight; in another a 19-year-old soldier kills a boy he mistakes for a terrorist. In “Brinkman’s Note,” a piece of suspense fiction, the unnamed narrator appears to be trying to stop a plot to assassinate the president. It turns out, however, that the narrator himself is the assassin, and he’s able to infiltrate the White House: “The President strode in smiling. From the right coat pocket of the raincoat I carried, I slowly drew forth my 32-caliber pistol. In Brinkman’s failure, I had succeeded.”

Hemingway would be proud. So would Hinckley, probably.