Take Michael Hayden Off the “Curtis LeMay Today List”


curtis lemay.jpgGeneral Curtis LeMay was a tough, often brilliant, pugnacious deployer of air power — organizing the debilitating and destructive carpet bombing campaigns of Japan and later viewed by many as being a bit too trigger happy when it came to using nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Curtis LeMay as metaphor captures the likes of John Bolton, Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, Max Boot, Joshua Muravchik, Liz Cheney, Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams, and others who seem unable to resist hatching the next military conflict rather than thinking through first how to resuscitate American power in a turbulent world doubtful of America’s abilities and designs. Most of these voices think we should have already bombed Iran — or think we should have allowed Israel to prick the Iranians thus “tying our hands” and forcing America into yet another power-paralyzing quagmire.
michael hayden cia.jpgLike many, I was surprised to see former National Security Agency Director and Deputy Director of National Intelligence Michael Hayden, now at the Chertoff Group, quoted as saying that a war with Iran was “inexorable.”
Although he has his share of critics, this blogger has always found Hayden to be steady and balanced, a results-oriented pragmatist unaffected by the ideological currents that overwhelmed many in the Bush administration. He had a rough time in the debate over torture — but as a serious national security strategist, Hayden is not one to carelessly suggest that America ought to put “bombing Iran” higher on its ‘to do list’. Or so I thought.
His comments were surprising — and thankfully, misquoted.
This in from the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON – In a July 25 story, The Associated Press reported that former CIA Director Michael Hayden told CNN’s “State of the Union” that U.S. military action against Iran now “seems inexorable.” A spokeswoman for Hayden responded that he made his reference to Iran’s push toward acquiring a nuclear program and not to military action.

So, we at The Washington Note move retired USAF General Michael Hayden out of the “Curtis LeMay Today List” that we are beginning to compile — and back on to the roster of reasonably sensible strategists.
— Steve Clemons


12 comments on “Take Michael Hayden Off the “Curtis LeMay Today List”

  1. Dennis says:

    Regarding your original perspective of Michael Hayden, it’s kinda hard that you would see him so (for lack of a better word on a quick post such as this) “innocent.”
    The man’s just another shallow political game player whose real interest is – Michael Hayden.


  2. dickerson3870 says:

    RE:”…the likes of John Bolton, Bill Kristol…and
    others who seem unable to resist hatching the next
    military conflict rather than thinking through first
    how to resuscitate American power…” – Clemons
    FROM TED RALL, 07/22/10:
    …Umberto Eco’s 1995 essay “Eternal Fascism”
    describes the cult of action for its own sake under
    fascist regimes and movements: “Action being
    beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or
    without, reflection. Thinking is a form of
    SOURCE – http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/07/22-


  3. downtown says:

    “Curtis LeMay as metaphor captures the likes of John Bolton, Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, Max Boot, Joshua Muravchik, Liz Cheney, Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams, and others who seem unable to resist hatching the next military conflict…”
    It takes decades of military service, starting at the very bottom, to become a US General. Not glossing over LeMay’s shortcomings…at least he wore a uniform. The other people would NEVER put any of their a**es on the line, at least not for America. Why even mention them in the same breath?


  4. Drew says:

    People ought to read something about LeMay prior to making of
    him a metaphor or anything else (“ghoul”, “traitor”).
    I think that if they did they would substantiate some of their
    discomfort with the guy by reference to event, fact, and statement.


  5. JimD says:

    Curtis LeMay is one of the ghouls of American post-war thinking. His so called patriotism turned so poisonous that he became a traitor… well look who his admirers are.


  6. David says:

    Thank god that was a misquote. I have noticed for some time now what has appeared to me to be a neocon tilt at AP, which undermines it as what it purports to be, a newswire service.
    I would not be terribly surprised if the misquote proved intentional.


  7. Bart says:

    “…Michael Hayden, now at the Chertoff Group,…”
    There just had to be a Chertoff Group.


  8. Pahlavan says:

    Unless the roster consists of outspoken advocates of diplomacy with strategies similar to what you


  9. David Billington says:

    General Hayden’s correction would seem to lend his authority to
    the view that sanctions cannot work. Certainly the general is not
    calling for war but he would seem to be implying that measures
    short of it will not stop Iran’s nuclear program.
    I’m not as sure that I see a policy column to which his view aligns.
    The point could be taken by advocates of war to mean that an
    attack is now the only option to prevent a nuclear Iran, or it could
    be taken by opponents of war that to mean we should regard an
    Iranian nuclear weapons capability as inevitable and accept it.


  10. Don Bacon says:

    This is the way they start.
    this just in:
    Japanese officials are trying to determine what caused an explosion on an oil tanker as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz.
    Japan’s transport ministry said Wednesday [today] that the M. Star was carrying about two million barrels of crude oil from the United Arab Emirates to the Japanese port of Chiba when it was rocked by an explosion.
    The ship’s owner claimed the explosion was likely the result of an attack. Crew members on the tanker said one person on board saw a flash of light on the horizon just before the explosion.


  11. Don Bacon says:

    “Carpet bombing” was developed during World War II, by the British head of RAF Bomber Command, Air Vice Marshal Arthur “Bomber” Harris and copied by the United States to try to weaken German morale and destroy cities which contained war industries. When an order was given to carpet bomb, a group of planes (usually ranging from 6 to 21 planes) would group in a “V” formation and release a bomb from each plane every 3 to 5 seconds. This technique was very effective and usually destroyed whole cities or large targets. –wiki
    Carpet bombing was used extensively against Japanese civilian population centers, such as Tokyo. On March 9 and 10 1945, B-29 Superfortresses were directed to bomb the most heavily populated civilian sectors of Tokyo. In just 2 days of bombing, over 100,000 men, women, and children burned to death from a heavy bombardment of incendiary bombs. Another 100,000 were left homeless. –wiki
    The same techniques were later used in Korea. The first wave of bombers would drop high explosives which blew all the structures apart, the next wave would drop incendiary to set everything afire and the final wave anti-personnel fragmentary to kill and maim the people not dispatched in the first two waves.


  12. Carroll says:

    I question anything that AP reports.
    I long ago noticed that their headlines never exactly matched the article content.
    Their misquotes are deliberate.


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