After a fortnight of gauging the economic wind and diagramming its forces, Charlie Wilson was ready for action. He took his calculations to the White House, told the President what he wanted, and got him to issue a new executive order. The order gave Mobilizer Wilson the machine he thought he needed to put power into U.S. rearmament.

Half an hour after the order was issued, Mobilizer Wilson assembled 70 reporters at a press conference, handed each of them a big chart and explained how the new setup was supposed to work. Before...

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