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The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay
frontpagemag.com ^

Posted on 12/25/2012 2:03:49 PM PST by virgil283

"...I was surprised to find out that LeMay wasn’t at all the man I thought he was … and I didn’t think he got a fair shake in history. Here is a man who has been marginalized and even vilified as this mad bomber yearning for a nuclear exchange with the Soviets. Hollywood helped solidify that negative image with Dr. Strangelove ..and he became a favorite target for journalists beginning in the 1960s. In truth, the real LeMay couldn’t have been further from the crazy brute that he’s been made out to be. He was a sober, strategic realist, who cared deeply for the men who served under him and for the country he defended. LeMay was perhaps the most brilliant military strategist this nation has ever produced – not my words but those of the late Robert S. McNamara. And LeMay was brave. He put his own life at risk insisting on flying the lead bomber on every dangerous mission over Europe. He was one of the most influential factors in our victory in the Pacific Theater. And if that weren’t enough, LeMay had a third act that equaled the first two, helping to win the Cold War by turning the Strategic Air Command into the most efficient and deadliest military force in history that kept the Soviets in check for decades. .... ..On his very first mission, LeMay ordered everyone to fly straight in with no deviation so they could hit the targets. The men were horrified. One pilot stood up at the pre-flight briefing and said they’d all be slaughtered. LeMay looked straight at him and, showing the most brilliant form of leadership, simply said: “No, I think we can take it and to prove it, I’ll fly the lead plane.”

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TOPICS: History; Society
KEYWORDS: curtislemay; lemay
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"What exactly is the LeMay Doctrine? .. Kozak: Simply put, a nation should think long and hard before it makes the fateful decision to go to war. But if all other diplomatic means have failed and there is no other alternative, then that nation should use every weapon in its arsenal to win the war as quickly as possible. And here’s the kicker: if it isn’t willing to do this, then it should not go to war in the first place. Prolonged conflicts help no one and wind up producing more casualties in the end. Think how the United States would have fought its wars differently since WWII … or not at all … if it had used LeMay’s doctrine...."
1 posted on 12/25/2012 2:03:52 PM PST by virgil283
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To: virgil283

Bump.


2 posted on 12/25/2012 2:05:05 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
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To: virgil283

for a fact...the LeMay and Goldwater stories are 1000 percent true as well


3 posted on 12/25/2012 2:16:15 PM PST by advertising guy (and as far as the Cookie Monster, was it really cookies ?)
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To: virgil283

bttt


4 posted on 12/25/2012 2:17:33 PM PST by EveningStar
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To: virgil283

Bump!


5 posted on 12/25/2012 2:19:36 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (I want a hippopotamus for Christmas! Only a hippopotamus will do!)
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To: virgil283

Developer of the Strategic Air Command, Gen. Curtis LeMay, provided many enjoyable (if not apocryphal) quotes, such as at a Senate hearing when asked why, with already enough nuclear bombs to reduce the Soviet Union to cinders, he still wanted more nuclear weapons, LeMay replied, “I want to see the cinders dance.”


6 posted on 12/25/2012 2:22:38 PM PST by Carl Vehse
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To: virgil283
"These [atomic] bombs brought into the world not only their own speed and extent of desolation. They brought a strange pervading fear which does not seem to have affected mankind previously, from any other source. This unmitigated terror has no justice, no basis in fact. Nothing new about death, nothing new about deaths caused militarily. We scorched and boiled and baked to death more people in Tokyo on that night of March 9-10 than went up in vapor at Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined." -- Mission with LeMay, Curtis E. LeMay, MacKinlay Kantor, Doubleday, 1965, p. 387.
7 posted on 12/25/2012 2:28:49 PM PST by Carl Vehse
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To: DuncanWaring

FYI.


8 posted on 12/25/2012 2:29:29 PM PST by Noumenon (As long as you have a rifle, you STILL have a vote.)
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To: virgil283

“I do not wish to have it pointed out to me by some “whiz kid” at this late stage of the game, that World War II was a colossal mistake , an international misunderstanding for which the United States was proportionately responsible. World War II was nothing of the kind. It was an event wherein the military giants of those several Axis states decided that they could get away with an incredible land grab, a nation grab, a super-Napoleonic defacement of a world-sized map. They did this with the enthusiasm of their nationals behind them. In minor dissension may have sounded the voices of a few ardent patriots and heroic philosophers; but those were not the majority. An horrific chorus shouted, ‘Duce!’, or ‘Banzai!’ or ‘Heil Hitler!’ Eventually, because of the sacrifices endured by our men and the entire populations of Allied countries, the enemy went down to defeat. Enemy cities were pulverized or fried to a crisp. It was something they asked for and something they got. In reverse fashion, if we keep listening to the gospel of apology and equivocation which all too many politicians and savants are preaching today in the United States, we will be asking for the same thing. And in time, may achieve it. Like witch doctors, defense intellectuals have created jargon which tends to becloud understanding. I submit that military strategy and subsequent national defense policies are understandable if clearly presented. Moreover, the average citizen must be familiar with these subjects, because, through his franchise, he makes the most fundamental and far-reaching defense decisions.”

General Curtis LeMay – 1965


9 posted on 12/25/2012 2:30:48 PM PST by Noumenon (As long as you have a rifle, you STILL have a vote.)
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To: virgil283

Lemay understood good and evil, and acted accordingly.


10 posted on 12/25/2012 2:31:25 PM PST by TADSLOS (I took extra credit at the School of Hard Knocks)
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To: virgil283

Read his biography. It was great.


11 posted on 12/25/2012 2:34:03 PM PST by SkyDancer (Live your life in such a way that the Westboro church will want to picket your funeral.)
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To: virgil283
favorite target for journalists beginning in the 1960s

all American military personnel were also targets of

the 1960s Marxist-Alinsky campus radical, psycho spoiled brats who were celebrated in the establishment MSM as the most intelligent generation ever!. They are now arguably that very establishment that praised them and they hold themselves and their ideological issue in even higher regard.

As pillars of the Establishment today they can now direct the MSM to attack whomever they please in addition to the American military.. rarely necessary of course because the MSM are also 1960s Marxist-Alinsky campus radical, psycho spoiled brats and ideological issue of same.

12 posted on 12/25/2012 2:34:36 PM PST by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
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To: Carl Vehse
“I want to see the cinders dance.” I like that...If you are going to war then it is -ALL OUT- every weapon nothing held back....or don't go to war at all...
13 posted on 12/25/2012 2:35:49 PM PST by virgil283 ( "He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy)
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To: virgil283
General Maxwell Taylor had served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and in 1965 he became a special adviser to President Lyndon B. Johnson. In that position I believe he pretty much held sway over everything including the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Among them was General Curtis LeMay who IIRC smoked cigars and was reported to make sure that he sat next to Taylor in meetings knowing that Taylor hated tobacco smoke.

14 posted on 12/25/2012 2:36:53 PM PST by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
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To: virgil283

Save for later


15 posted on 12/25/2012 2:48:35 PM PST by Gay State Conservative (When Robbing Peter To Pay Paul,One Can Always Count On Paul's Cooperation)
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To: Noumenon; All
" Moreover, the average citizen must be familiar with these subjects, because, through his franchise, he makes the most fundamental and far-reaching defense decisions."
16 posted on 12/25/2012 2:50:02 PM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: virgil283

Thank you for the link a very interesting man..Will check out book..


17 posted on 12/25/2012 2:57:54 PM PST by GSP.FAN (Some days, it's not even worth chewing through the restraints.)
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To: virgil283

LeMay was a tangible threat to the Soviet Union, which had long been very scared of America’s bomber fleet, because from the end of WWII to about the mid-1960s, nuclear missiles were just not good enough, or common enough, to rely on.

So the Soviets told their American traitors to destroy LeMay with character assassination.


18 posted on 12/25/2012 3:04:32 PM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy (Pennies and Nickels will NO LONGER be Minted as of 1/1/13 - Tim Geithner, US Treasury Sect)
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To: knarf

bttt


19 posted on 12/25/2012 3:06:23 PM PST by txhurl
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To: Carl Vehse

***Developer of the Strategic Air Command,***

I remember living in Roswell NM in 1959 and seeing the B-47s taking off one right after another ever few weeks.

When I later was stationed there at Walker AFB the B-52s did not fly quite as often. The ALERT pads were always ready and every SAC base had two aircraft in the air with h-bombs at all times.

After a collision with a KC-135 Tanker, flying the two bombers with H-bombs was stopped.


20 posted on 12/25/2012 3:07:20 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (REOPEN THE CLOSED MENTAL INSTITUTIONS! Damn the ACLU!)
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To: Noumenon

A very telling statement by the General. As another poster said, it was the left that painted Lemay and all military personnel as bloodthirsty tyrants or automatons.


21 posted on 12/25/2012 3:08:35 PM PST by rlmorel (1793 French Jacobins and 2012 American Liberals have a lot in common.)
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To: virgil283
When I was in the Air Force in the late 1970's, we didn't have a well-cultivated tradition of history and heroes like the Army, Navy and especially the Marines. The legacy of General LeMay was the rare exception to that. The maverick creator of the Strategic Air Command was someone that had legendary status. Proud to say I served my time as a "SAC trained killer".


22 posted on 12/25/2012 3:09:32 PM PST by fidelis (Zonie and USAF Cold Warrior)
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To: virgil283
He put his own life at risk insisting on flying the lead bomber on every dangerous mission over Europe.

This is not quite true. He certainly did lead dangerous missions, including the August, 1943 raid to Regensburg. But, he did not lead all. Group commanders in the 8th Air Force took their turn as Command Pilot leading the group or air division on specific missions. They shared this duty with the other senior officers in the Group. LeMay may have picked the toughest missions for himself, but he did what his fellow group commanders were doing. He led a few missions after being promoted to Brigadier General and becoming CG of the 3d Air Division. But, at some point, he was grounded because of his knowledge of the compromised Enigma codes. This restriction applied to all who had such knowledge as the Allies could not risk their falling into enemy hands.

The restriction continued when LeMay went to the 30th AF, although he made have sneaked on a few missions. LeMay was courageous, no doubt, but so were countless other general officers. When LeMay began his combat duty in 1943, the Navy had lost several admirals in surface actions in the South Pacific. Three Army generals had been wounded in fierce combat at Buna in New Guinea. In World War II, generals who led from the front were commonplace.

23 posted on 12/25/2012 3:11:21 PM PST by centurion316
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To: virgil283

Thanks for putting this one up. I never thought much about LeMay. Now I must find a good biography and some more.


24 posted on 12/25/2012 3:12:40 PM PST by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson ONLINE www.fee.org/library/books/economics-in-one-lesson)
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To: virgil283

While the Libs may vilify him for his war time strategy, and make movies about Jack D Ripper, it was LeMay’s vice President position on George Wallace’s Presidential bid in 1968 that made them really foam at the mouth.


25 posted on 12/25/2012 3:13:34 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (REOPEN THE CLOSED MENTAL INSTITUTIONS! Damn the ACLU!)
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To: WilliamofCarmichael

If you want to read about Taylor, Lemay and the Joint Chiefs leading up to our decisions to get more involved in Vietnam, read Dereliction of Duty by H. McMaster. A great book about how that idiot McNamara and Johnson manipulated and divided the JCS to get what it wanted in the runup to Vietnam. BTW, as pointed out in the book, Lemay and the Marine Commandant (Wallace Green) were of the same mind. Bomb North Vietnam back into the stone age or get out of Vietnam all together. No half stepping.

You will also find out in the book that Lemay’s tour as chief of the Air Force was extended a year not because Johnson liked him. But because he was afraid Lemay as a civilian would be criticizing Johnson concerning Vietnam while Johnson was running for the 1964 Presidential election. Lemay as a good military man would never criticize his commander in chief while in uniform.


26 posted on 12/25/2012 3:14:42 PM PST by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

27 posted on 12/25/2012 3:27:32 PM PST by Theoria (Romney is a Pyrrhic victory.)
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To: Old Teufel Hunden
RE: Dereliction of Duty by H. McMaster

Thanks. That's where I got the story about LeMay and the cigars he used to irritate Johnson's special adviser Taylor. I read it when it was published and gave it to a retired Navy guy.

It was a great book. That's a fact.

RE: "Lemay as a good military man would never criticize his commander in chief while in uniform."

Nowadays IMO it's the duty of the military to take sides. . . .

28 posted on 12/25/2012 3:32:09 PM PST by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
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To: virgil283

LeMay disgraced himself in 1968 by running as the VP candidate of racist George Wallace.


29 posted on 12/25/2012 3:38:21 PM PST by iowamark
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To: virgil283

Yes, LeMay was a strong voice for SAC .... but maybe too strong.

In the early 50s, he constantly belittled the idea of using unmanned missiles for long-distance delivery of nuclear weapons, making sure that his SAC got most of the military funding & respect. As a result, US missile development fell well behind the Soviets, who had no problem recognizing the potential of the ICBM. (What’s that quote about old generals always stuck in fighting the last war’s way?)

Von Braun himself admitted that the US could have put a satellite in orbit as early as 1955 - two years ahead of Sputnik - had missile research received the proper funding and recognition. And since those military missiles formed the basis of the space program, the US started from behind and were always playing “catch-up” to the USSR until Apollo - thanks to people like Gen. Curtis LeMay.


30 posted on 12/25/2012 3:50:36 PM PST by canuck_conservative
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To: virgil283
LeMay was probably America's greatest military leader during World War II and afterward. Period.


31 posted on 12/25/2012 3:53:04 PM PST by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
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To: iowamark
LeMay disgraced himself in 1968 by running as the VP candidate of racist George Wallace.

If you read the article, then you'd find that he did it to help Nixon defeat the Rats.

32 posted on 12/25/2012 4:00:21 PM PST by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
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To: iowamark

You must be relying on public school teaching and MSM news for that. Wallace was a populist and racial moderate of that time. He would have been POTUS if he had not been shot. He served under LeMay during the war. I was born and raised on and around a SAC base. Everyone thought LeMay was top notch.


33 posted on 12/25/2012 4:03:32 PM PST by Kent1957
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To: virgil283
All outlined in his little known 1968 book, America is in Danger.

America is in danger


34 posted on 12/25/2012 4:04:36 PM PST by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
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To: Kent1957

I read that book last year about him. Very capable and competent.


35 posted on 12/25/2012 4:05:08 PM PST by GlockThe Vote (The Obama Adminstration: 2nd wave of attacks on America after 9/11)
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To: Jet Jaguar
LeMay required a straight-on bombing run to maximize the effectiveness of the top secret Norden bomb sight, which in the hands of a skilled bombardier made the B-17 into a precision bomber. In any case he knew that zigzagging by large heavy bombers to try to avoid nimble Messerschmidts and Focke-Wulfs was a fools errand which did nothing but mess up the accuracy of the bombing run.

He also bolstered the self-defense capabilities of our bomber groups and saved many lives by designing the famous Box Formation, which you can see in any documentary film or movie about the Air Corps.

The reason for the incendiary bombing of Tokyo was based on the fact that Tokyo was one huge decentralized cottage defense plant. Every highly flammable shack in town harbored some piece of equipment for making war materiel, from bullets to boots to bandages, infinitely too many to be targeted independently. How many Tokyo inhabitants were true civilians at all is a highly problematic semantic issue which detractors prefer to overlook.

36 posted on 12/25/2012 4:34:56 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: centurion316
But, at some point, he was grounded because of his knowledge of the compromised Enigma codes

Yes. Quite a few Generals got something of a bad rap for an alleged recalcitrance to "lead from the front". Justified in a few, but this was a very big reason why not.
37 posted on 12/25/2012 5:02:30 PM PST by 98ZJ USMC
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To: iowamark
LeMay disgraced himself in 1968 by running as the VP candidate of racist George Wallace.

As much as I admire LeMay the Warrior, I agree. Wallace was a POS.
38 posted on 12/25/2012 5:05:37 PM PST by 98ZJ USMC
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To: TADSLOS

“Lemay understood good and evil, and acted accordingly.”

Probably the most relevant point of the last 40 years. And that distinction seems lost on everyone today, including Republicans.


39 posted on 12/25/2012 5:13:07 PM PST by Wildbill22 (They have us surrounded again, the poor bastards- Gen Creighton Williams Abrams)
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To: zot

article about General Lemay


40 posted on 12/25/2012 5:27:40 PM PST by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: Kent1957
Wallace was a populist and racial moderate of that time [1968].

He moderated later, though. His '63-'67 term as governor included the "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!" inauguration speech. This was the term where he stood in the doorway at the University of Alabama to prevent black students from enrolling.

Kennedy then federalized the Alabama National Guard in order to have the necessary force to make him do the right thing, so Wallace's action was another case of misusing conservative principles (state sovereignty) in an execrable cause. As usually happens, this allows liberals to shred these principles so they're not available when we need them.

Segregationists delayed my embrace of conservative truths for more than a decade. So in the late seventies, while Wallace was already taking actions to be proud of due to his change of heart, I was still voting for liberals. So you can see why I would be bitter about this. :-)

41 posted on 12/25/2012 5:45:56 PM PST by InMemoriam
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To: virgil283

LeMay Ping


42 posted on 12/25/2012 5:54:42 PM PST by Chainmail (A simple rule of life: if you can be blamed, you're responsible.)
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To: 98ZJ USMC

It isn’t uncommon for someone with a genius for military matters to be foolish in politics. I started in TAC, not SAC, but LeMay was a great general. Unhappily, he wouldn’t last 30 minutes in today’s politicized military - but God knows we need men like him.

Given the moral course of this country, though, I don’t see any change likely ahead. I spent 20 years cheerfully recommending the military to others. By the end of my 25, I had to stop. Now I recommend against it. And it breaks my heart to say so...


43 posted on 12/25/2012 6:00:03 PM PST by Mr Rogers (America is becoming California, and California is becoming Detroit. Detroit is already hell.)
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To: Mr Rogers

I’m with you, Mr. Rogers. It was like a mantra with me: “Going nowhere? Want to make something of yourself? Join the military.” No more.


44 posted on 12/25/2012 6:17:54 PM PST by fidelis (Zonie and USAF Cold Warrior)
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To: virgil283

LeMay has been one of my heros for years. His ideas would have turned Korea into a victory rather than a constant threat and stale mate. Vietnam would have been a victory rather than a loss. We would have won the cold war many years earlier. Terrorists would have been afraid to attack us.

Plus; he loved good cigars :-)


45 posted on 12/25/2012 6:30:28 PM PST by logic101.net (How many children must die on the alter of "gun free zones"?)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
So the Soviets told their American traitors to destroy LeMay with character assassination.

And that's what they and their "progressive" successors have done and are still doing. Prime example: Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

46 posted on 12/25/2012 6:32:04 PM PST by Bernard Marx
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To: arthurus

Thanks for putting this one up. I never thought much about LeMay. Now I must find a good biography and some more.

There was a great bio on LeMay in Cigar Magazine (now defunct) a couple years ago.


47 posted on 12/25/2012 6:36:12 PM PST by logic101.net (How many children must die on the alter of "gun free zones"?)
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To: InMemoriam

“segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”

I believe Wallace was a Dimacrat. In fact it was the Dims that tried to block all civil rights legislation in the 60’s. This includes Algore’s daddy and Bill Clinton’s mentor.

So how exactly did LeMay’s run with Wallace keep you away from Conservatives for a decade? This does not compute....


48 posted on 12/25/2012 6:43:57 PM PST by logic101.net (How many children must die on the alter of "gun free zones"?)
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To: virgil283

Bookmarked. Great thread. More winter reading, thanks.


49 posted on 12/25/2012 7:45:09 PM PST by SueRae (It isn't over. In God We Trust.)
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To: logic101.net

Although the thread is about LeMay, I was responding only to the statement that Wallace was a moderate on race in the ‘60s. I tried to take LeMay out of it by quoting the statement I was responding to, but just so I am absolutely clear, I was only talking about Wallace.

(In fact, one of the pleasant discoveries I made in my journey out of liberalism was your point that segregation was overthrown primarily by Republicans following Declaration principles.)


50 posted on 12/25/2012 7:48:08 PM PST by InMemoriam
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