A man should have dinner with his friends, and the commanding general has no friends.
On declining to dine with a group of colonels. Recalled on his death (1 Oct 1990)
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.Curtis Lemay
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. And we would shove them back into the Stone Age with Air power or Naval power—not with ground forces.Curtis Lemay
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...Curtis Lemay
We went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea anyway, someway or another, and some in South Korea too.… Over a period of three years or so, we killed off — what — twenty percent of the population of Korea as direct casualties of war, or from starvation and exposure?Curtis Lemay
We’re at war with Japan. We were attacked by Japan. Do you want to kill Japanese, or would you rather have Americans killed?Curtis Lemay
...Native annalists may look sadly back from the future on that period when we had the atomic bomb and the Russians didn't. Or when the Russians had aquired (through connivance and treachery of Westerns with warped minds) the atomic bomb - and yet still didn't have any stockpile of the weapons. That was the era when we might have destroyed Russia completely and not even skinned our elbows doing it.Curtis Lemay