Curtis LeMay - Demented Cold Warrior


Curtis LeMay


"The reality is that we are a country like any other, with good and evil people, the strong and the weak, noble and criminal acts, with truth often hidden under deception and propaganda."  --James K. Galbraith

General Curtis LeMay was a belligerent Cold Warrior who was portrayed in the satirical film Dr. Strangelove, as the trigger-happy General Jack D. Ripper.

In air campaigns against Japan during World War II, LeMay abandoned the established policy of daylight, precision bombing.  Instead, he loaded his B29's with firebombs and sent them out over Japanese cities during the night.  As LeMay described it, the B29's "scorched, boiled and baked to death" some 330,000 people.

After World War II, LeMay served in the Pentagon.  In 1947, LeMay transferred to Wiesbaden, Germany to command U.S. Air Forces in Europe.  LeMay returned to the U.S. in October 1948 to take charge of the Strategic Air Command (SAC).

LeMay's first war plan, drawn up in 1949, proposed delivering "the entire stockpile of atomic bombs in a single massive attack" -- dropping 133 atomic bombs on 70 cities within 30 days.  By the end of his term, the SAC was on constant alert and ready to execute an all-out atomic attack at a moments notice.  LeMay was SAC commander until June 1957.

LeMay was appointed Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force in 1957 and Chief of Staff in 1961.  As a member of the Joint Chiefs during the Cuban Missile Crisis, LeMay recommended that President John F. Kennedy send the navy and SAC to surround Cuba and if need be, "fry it."  When the crisis ended peacefully, LeMay called it "the greatest defeat in our history."

Noel Twyman in Bloody Treason wrote of General LeMay's sour relationship with President Kennedy:

John Kennedy and his key people were determined to seize control of the military -- a feat no president had accomplished since World War II.  The chiefs resented the Kennedys and their whiz kids who had little or no experience in military command; the chiefs were accustomed to presidents who let them do their thing without meddlesome interference from politicians.

Perhaps the two most dangerous of all the generals were Curtis LeMay and his head of the Strategic Air Command, General Thomas Power.  General LeMay is legendary for his mania to start World War III by goading the Soviet Union with unauthorized reconnaissance flights that penetrated their forbidden boundaries.

LeMay was [an] extremely crude character....  Dino Brugioni in Eyeball to Eyeball wrote of LeMay's excesses:

Meetings of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were alluded to by some as a three-ring circus.  General Curtis E. LeMay, Air Force chief of staff, was characterized by one observer as always injecting himself into situations "like a rogue elephant barging out of a forest."  There are many stories of LeMay's crudeness in dealing with his colleagues on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He found the meetings dull, tiring, and unproductive.  Petulant and often childish when he didn't get his way, LeMay would light a cigar and blow smoke in the direction of anyone challenging his position.  To show utter disgust, he would walk into the private Joint Chiefs of Staff toilet, leave the door open, urinate of break wind loudly, and flush the commode a number of aggravating times.  He would then saunter calmly back into the meeting pretending that nothing had happened.  When angry with individual staff members, he would resort to sarcasm; if that failed, he would direct his wrath to the entire staff.

LeMay was in policy conflicts with the Joint Chiefs.  He battled with Admiral Arleigh Burke over the control of the nuclear Polaris submarines.  LeMay wanted them under his command and actually achieved some control in the Pacific theater.  But Burke successfully fought the Air Force every way he knew -- in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Congress, and in the press -- any way to prevent LeMay's power grab.

LeMay apparently had grown immune to the horror of killing.  He had directed the gasoline-jelled fire bombing of Japan -- estimated to have killed "more persons in a six-hour period than at any time in the history of man."  He said of war:  "You've got to kill people, and when you've killed enough they stop fighting."  He once said, "We killed off -- what -- twenty percent of the population of North Korea."  More than two million civilians died in LeMay's campaign from napalm bombing and destruction of massive dams to flood waterways.

LeMay was a ringleader in the Joint Chiefs of Staff insofar as urging Kennedy to go to war in the Bay of Pigs and later in the Cuban missile crisis.  Kennedy wisely resisted the Joint Chiefs' recommendations.  LeMay was the foremost proponent of the nuclear first strike, saying that we should give the Russians the "Sunday punch" before they did it to us.

In the 1950's, under Eisenhower, LeMay had the authority to order a nuclear strike without presidential authorization if the president could not be contacted.  That option was extended down to General Thomas Power, head of SAC, whom LeMay himself described as "not stable" and a "sadist."  LeMay's proposal for a nuclear first strike and massive destruction of the Soviets was thwarted by Eisenhower, whom LeMay came to consider as indecisive.  He was even more disgusted with Kennedy, whom LeMay believed to be a coward.  LeMay talked openly about a preemptive attack in which one hundred million people would be killed.

If ever there were a mad, rogue general who would lead a coup, it would appear to have been General Curtis LeMay.

After LeMay retired from the Air Force, he teamed with segregationist governor George Wallace in an unsuccessful candidacy for the vice presidency.  In the years following LeMay's failed political race, he became somewhat of a recluse, seldom leaving his home.  LeMay died in 1990.

Kennedy - LeMay

President John F. Kennedy with General Curtis LeMay and General Thomas Power Outside SAC Headquarters

"I remember Curtis LeMay sitting there [in the gallery at the JFK autopsy] with a big cigar in his hand."  --Paul O'Connor, laboratory technologist who assisted in the autopsy of President Kennedy, cited by William Law, In the Eye of History

"Restraint!  Why are you so concerned with saving their lives?  The whole idea is to kill the bastards!  At the end of the war, if there are two Americans and one Russian, we win!"  --Thomas Power, commander in chief of the Strategic Air Command from 1957 to 1964, speaking to William Kaufmann of the RAND Corporation in 1960, cited by Fred Kaplan, The Wizards of Armageddon

"Well, maybe if we do this overflight right, we can get World War III started."  --Curtis LeMay, speaking to RB-47 'Stratojet' crew member Hal Austin of the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, cited by Paul Lashmar, Washington Post, "Stranger than 'Strangelove': A General's Forays into the Nuclear Zone," 3 July 1994, C9

"Looking back on that whole Cuban mess, one of the things that appalled me most was the lack of broad judgment by some of the heads of the military services.  When you think of the long competitive selection process that they have to weather to end up the number one man of their particular service, it is certainly not unreasonable to expect that they would also be bright, with good broad judgment.  For years I've been looking at those rows of ribbons and those four stars, and conceding a certain higher qualification not obtained in civilian life.  Well, if ------- and ------- are the best the services can produce, a lot more attention is going to be given their advice in the future before any action is taken as a result of it."  --President Kennedy, speaking to Assistant Navy Secretary Paul Fay, The Pleasure of His Company

"At a Georgetown dinner party recently, the wife of a leading senator sat next to Gen. Curtis LeMay, chief of staff of the Air Force.  He told her a nuclear war was inevitable.  It would begin in December and be all over by the first of the year.  In that interval, every major American city -- Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles -- would be reduced to rubble.  Similarly, the principal cities of the Soviet Union would be destroyed.  The lady, as she tells it, asked if there were any place where she could take her children and grandchildren to safety; the general would, of course, at the first alert be inside the top-secret underground hideout near Washington from which the retaliatory strike would be directed.  He told her that certain unpopulated areas in the far west would be safest."  --Marquis Childs, nationally syndicated columnist, Washington Post, 19 July 1961


The Right-Wing Shadow Government - Treason on the Right
Nixon, Watergate, and the JFK Assassination
The Enemy Within - The Pentagon Plan to Terrorize U.S. Citizens and Blame Cuba
Vice President Dick Cheney's Stand-Down Order on 9/11
The Plane that Never Hit the Pentagon
Cheney's Proposal to Dress Up Navy Seals as Iranians and Shoot at Them
Did a Neocon Gang Send Anthrax Letters to Senators Daschle and Leahy to Intimidate Them and Thwart a Congressional Investigation of 9/11?
'October Surprise' Plane Crashes (Election Eve Terror)
Using Disaster Drills as a Cover to Stage False Flag Terror Attacks
CIA Operative Gen. Ed Lansdale Photographed in Dealey Plaza
Tapes Reveal Nixon Prolonged Vietnam War for Political Reasons
Fonda was Right and Bush was Lying
George H. W. Bush -- Was He Part of It?
The CIA School of Assassination at Fort Bragg
Lee Harvey Oswald — The Patsy
The Senator who Suspected a JFK Conspiracy
Cold Facts on the Cold War
Arlen Specter and the Single Bullet Theory
Did CIA Hawks Assassinate Ron Brown?
"Body of Secrets" - Attack on the USS Liberty
The October Surprise

A Timeline of CIA Meddling in Latin America
Hale Boggs - Warren Commission Member and Critic
CIA Assassin David Morales Photographed at the Ambassador Hotel
Gerald Ford's Role in the JFK Assassination Cover-up
Did Militarists Sabotage Gary Power's U-2 Plane?
Hitler and Stalin - Clash of the Dictators
The Reagan Years

Thirteen Days

The Kennedy Tapes

"It wasn't until nearly thirty years after [the Cuban missile crisis] that we learned, from General Gribkovi's testimony ... that the nuclear warheads for both tactical and strategic nuclear weapons had already reached Cuba before the quarantine line was established -- 162 nuclear warheads in all.  If the president had gone ahead with the air strike and invasion of Cuba, the invasion forces almost surely would have been met by nuclear fire, requiring a nuclear response from the United States."  --Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense under Kennedy

"If John Kennedy had followed LeMay's advice, history would have forgotten the Nazis and their terrible Holocaust.  Ours would have been the historic omnicide."  --Richard Rhodes, Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb

"History teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, do not last forever.  However fixed our likes and dislikes may seem, the tide of time and events will often bring surprising changes in the relations between nations and neighbors....  So let us not be blind to our differences, but let us also direct attention to our common interests and the means by which those differences can be resolved.  And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.  For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet.  We all breathe the same air.  We all cherish our children's futures.  And we are all mortal."  --John F. Kennedy, speech before American University, 10 June 1963

"Nobody is going to force me to do anything I don't think is in the best interest of the country.  I will never compromise the principles on which this country is built, but we're not going to plunge into an irresponsible action just because a fanatical fringe in this country puts so-called national pride above national reason.  Do you think I'm going to carry on my conscience the responsibility for the wanton maiming and killing of children like our children we saw here this evening?  Do you think I'm going to cause a nuclear exchange -- for what?  Because I was forced into doing something that I didn't think was proper and right?  Well, if you or anybody else thinks I am, he's crazy."  --President Kennedy, after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, speaking to Assistant Navy Secretary Paul Fay, The Pleasure of His Company

"Civilians can scarcely understand or even believe that many ambitious military professionals truly yearn for wars and the opportunities for glory and distinction afforded only in combat.  A career of peacetime duty is a dull and frustrating prospect for the normal regular officer to contemplate....  Wars and emergencies put the military and their leaders on the front pages and give status and prestige to the professionals.  Wars add to the military traditions, the self-nourishment of heroic deeds, and provide a new crop of military leaders who become the rededicated disciples of the code of service and military action.  Being recognized public figures in a nation always seeking folk heroes, the military leaders have been largely exempt from the criticism experienced by the more plebeian politician.  Flag officers are considered 'experts,' and their views are often accepted by the press and Congress as the gospel....  Standing closely behind these leaders, encouraging and prompting them, are the rich and powerful defense industries.  Standing in front, adorned with service caps, ribbons, and lapel emblems, is a nation of veterans -- patriotic, belligerent, romantic, and well intentioned, finding a certain sublimation and excitement in their country’s latest military venture."  --David Shoup, former Commandant of the Marine Corps and member of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, The Atlantic, "The New American Militarism," April 1969

"The danger which troubled my husband was that war might be started not so much by the big men as by the little ones.  While big men know the need for self-control and restraint, little men are sometimes moved more by fear and pride."  --Jacqueline Kennedy, President Kennedy's widow, in a letter to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, 1 December 1963, cited by William Manchester, The Death of a President

"We were deeply concerned that Khrushchev would respond [to an attack on Cuba] with an attack on Berlin, where he had the geographic advantage, and with nuclear weapons, which would have transformed that local battle into a terrible global struggle."  --Theodore Sorensen, Special Counsel to John F. Kennedy, interviewed on, 29 November 1998

"President [Kennedy] heroically kept the country out of war -- against relentless pressure from hard-liners in the Pentagon, CIA and his own White House, who were determined to militarily engage the enemy in Berlin, Laos, Vietnam and especially Cuba.  Kennedy knew that any such military confrontation could quickly escalate into a nuclear war with the Soviet Union.  And he realized that a full-scale invasion of Cuba or Vietnam could become hopelessly bogged down, turning into a bloody and endless occupation....  The only reason Cuba didn't become the Iraq of its day was that Kennedy was too wise to be snookered by hard-liners into this trap.  He had already been misled early in his administration by the CIA, which convinced him that its ragtag army of Cuban exiles could defeat Castro at the Bay of Pigs.  JFK vowed that he would never again listen to these so-called national security experts...."  --David Talbot, Salon, "The Kennedy Legacy vs. the Bush Legacy," 2 May 2007

"Arthur Schlesinger Jr., in his book 'Robert Kennedy and His Times,' documents other episodes showing President Kennedy's determination not to let Vietnam become an American war.  One was when Gen. Douglas MacArthur told him it would be foolish to fight again in Asia and that the problem should be solved at the diplomatic table.  Later General Taylor said that MacArthur's views made 'a hell of an impression on the President ... so that whenever he'd get this military advice from the Joint Chiefs or from me or anyone else, he'd say, 'Well, now, you gentlemen, you go back and convince General MacArthur, then I'll be convinced.'"  --Roger Hilsman, Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs under President Kennedy, letter to The New York Times, 20 January 1992

"The global balance of terror, pioneered by the United States and the Soviet Union, holds hostage the citizens of the Earth.  Each side draws limits on the permissible behavior of the other.  The potential enemy is assured that if the limit is transgressed, nuclear war will follow.  However, the definition of the limit changes from time to time.  Each side must be quite confident that the other understands the new limits.  Each side is tempted to increase its military advantage, but not in so striking a way as seriously to alarm the other.  Each side continually explores the limits of the other's tolerance, as in flights of nuclear bombers over the Arctic wastes; the Cuban missile crisis; the testing of anti-satellite weapons; the Vietnam and Afghanistan wars -- a few entries from a long and dolorous list.  The global balance of terror is a very delicate balance.  It depends on things not going wrong, on mistakes not being made, on the reptilian passions not being seriously aroused."  --Carl Sagan, Cosmos

Who Killed JFK?  The evidence points to a right-wing faction of the CIA with some help from its friends.  In CIA lingo, friends are referred to as "assets."  CIA assets, including media assets, were employed to help cover-up the crime.  This CIA faction was angry at JFK for his refusal to commit to a full-scale invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, and for his efforts to seek an accommodation with the Soviet Union and Fidel Castro.  High-level CIA officers are implicated.  They include:  Richard Helms, James Angleton, David Phillips, E. Howard Hunt, Theodore Shackley, William Harvey, David Morales, Edward Lansdale, and George Joannides.  Typing any of these CIA officer's names into an Internet search engine, along with the words "JFK assassination," will uncover a network of conspirators.
To see evidence that Lee Oswald was framed by CIA operatives click here: The Patsy

9/11 - Anatomy of a Great Deception

"Real patriots ask questions." --Carl Sagan

"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." --Albert Einstein