Tony Bennett has apologised for suggesting the American government "caused" the 9/11 terrorist attacks by sparking violence in the Middle East.
The singer suggested America only had itself to blame for the atrocities, which began when hijackers flew two planes into the World Trade Center in New York, during an interview with Howard Stern on Monday (19Sep11).
The World War II veteran said, "Who are the terrorists? Are we the terrorists, or are they the terrorists? Two wrongs don't make a right. They flew the plane in, but we caused it. We were bombing them, and they told us to stop."
Candid Bennett then told the shock jock that the subsequent war in Iraq was "a tremendous mistake internationally", adding former President George W. Bush admitted he had made a mistake during a meeting with the singer in 2005.
Bush's spokesman Freddy Ford has since dismissed Bennett's comments, stating, "President Bush has always felt, and consistently expressed, that America is safer without (former Iraqi leader) Saddam Hussein in power. He has never said the decision to liberate Iraq was a mistake to Mr. Bennett or to anyone."
Bennett, 85, clarified his remarks on Tuesday (20Sep11), stating, "There is simply no excuse for terrorism and the murder of the nearly 3,000 innocent victims of the 9/11 attacks on our country. My experiences - ranging from the Battle of the Bulge to marching with Martin Luther King - made me a lifelong humanist and pacifist, and reinforced my belief that violence begets violence and that war is the lowest form of human behaviour.
"I am sorry if my statements suggested anything other than an expression of my love for my country, my hope for humanity and my desire for peace throughout the world."
Bennett made sure fans were clear about his sentiment during an appearance on U.S. chat show The View on Wednesday (21Sep11) by reading his statement aloud.