The Army duty officer at the Pentagon routed General Lightnin' Joe Collins out of bed at 5:30 one morning last week to read him the first pink secret dispatch about the Chinese counteroffensive. Collins rubbed his eyes and dialed General Omar Bradley, asleep in House No. 1 at Fort Myer, Va. All that day the Pentagon's brass-level was gloomy with misgivings. Next morning the whole thing exploded when Douglas MacArthur defined "the entirely new war."

The hard, shocking fact they faced was that the U.S. was out of combat-ready reserve strength. Only...

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