- 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.
- 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.
- Mission With LeMay: My Story (1965), p. 565. In an interview two years after the publication of this book, General LeMay said, "I never said we should bomb them back to the Stone Age. I said we had the capability to do it. I want to save lives on both sides"; reported in The Washington Post (October 4, 1968), p. A8. 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 )
- 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...
- Mission with LeMay: My Story (1965), p. 559.
- ...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.
- Mission with LeMay: My Story (1965), p. 560-561.
- 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.
- Mission with LeMay: My Story (1965), p. 561.
- 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?
- Strategic Air Warfare: An Interview with Generals (1988)
- 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.
- Conversation with presidential commissioner Robert Sprague (September 1957), quoted in 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
- As far as casualties were concerned I think there were more casualties in the first attack on Tokyo with incendiaries than there were with the first use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The fact that it's done instantaneously, maybe that's more humane than incendiary attacks, if you can call any war act humane. I don't, particularly, so to me there wasn't much difference. A weapon is a weapon and it really doesn't make much difference how you kill a man. If you have to kill him, well, that's the evil to start with and how you do it becomes pretty secondary. I think your choice should be which weapon is the most efficient and most likely to get the whole mess over with as early as possible.
- The World at War: the Landmark Oral History from the Classic TV Series, p. 574
- 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 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.'
- Barry Goldwater, quoted in The New Yorker, April 25, 1988, p. 70