was a General in the
United States Air Force
There are no innocent civilians. It is their government and you are fighting a people, you are not trying to fight an armed force anymore. So it doesn't bother me so much to be killing the so-called innocent bystanders.
Sherry, Michael (September 10, 1989).
The Rise of American Air Power: The Creation of Armageddon
, p. 287 (from "LeMay's interview with Sherry," interview "after the war," p. 408 n. 108). Yale University Press. ISBN-13: 978-0300044140.
I have tried at all times to slaughter as few civilians as possible.
Mission with LeMay: My Story
My solution to the problem would be to tell [the North Vietnamese Communists] frankly that they've got to draw in their horns and stop their aggression or we're going to bomb them into the stone age.
Mission With LeMay: My Story
, 1965; many years later LeMay would claim that this was his ghost writer's overwriting
Killing Japanese didn't bother me very much at that time... I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal.... Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you're not a good soldier.
On the morality of the firebombing campaign
If I see that the Russians are amassing their planes for an attack, I'm going to knock the shit out of them before they take off the ground.
From Kaplan, F. (1991).
The Wizards of Armageddon
. Stanford University Press. Page 134.
We’re at war with Japan. We were attacked by Japan. Do you want to kill Japanese, or would you rather have Americans killed?
From his autobiography, also requoted in Rhodes, 'The Making of the Atomic Bomb', p. 596
I think there are many times when it would be most efficient to use nuclear weapons. However, the public opinion in this country and throughout the world throw up their hands in horror when you mention nuclear weapons, just because of the propaganda that's been fed to them.
3 October, 1968
If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting.
I'd like to see a more aggressive attitude on the part of the United States. That doesn't mean launching an immediate preventive war. ... Native analysts may look sadly back from the future on that period when we had the atomic bomb and the Russians didn't... That was the era when we might have destroyed Russia completely and not even skinned our elbows doing it.... China has the bomb... Sometime in the future--25, 50, 75 years hence--what will the situation be like then? By that time the Chinese will have the capability of delivery too... That's the reason some schools of thinking don't rule out a destruction of the Chinese military potential before the situation grows worse than it is today. It's bad enough now.
I don't mind being called tough, because in this racket it's tough guys who lead the survivors.
Said of LeMay
I used to receive a hundred calls a year from people who wanted me to get into the Green Room at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, because that's where the Air Force stored all the material gathered on UFOs. I once asked Curtis LeMay if I could get in that room, and he just gave me holy hell. He said, 'Not only can't you get into it but don't you ever mention it to me again.'
, quoted in
The New Yorker
, April 25, 1988, p. 70