MOBILIZATION: No Hand on the Tiller

At Harry Truman's urging, Charlie Wilson took on the job of chief U.S. Defense Mobilizer in December 1950, confident that he knew a thing or two about wartime Washington. After two years on Franklin Roosevelt's mobilization staff, he was wise to the perils of palace politics and political hatchet work. But in Harry Truman's Washington he was soon completely at sea in leaderless confusion. Last week, in a blunt letter to the President (written the day before Truman bowed out as a candidate), Charlie Wilson abruptly quit his job.

The Reversal. Specifically,...

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