Howard Stern really seems to have a knack for making people say things that they later regret. Tony Bennett was on Stern’s radio show to promote his new album, Duets II, but the conversation eventually strayed away from music and ventured into the political realm. The singer is a noted pacifist and was taking an anti-war stance when Stern asked him how he would deal with the terrorists responsible for destroying the Twin Towers on 9/11. So here’s when things began to get a little dicey. Bennett responded by saying, “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.” Talk about putting your foot in your mouth.
As you can imagine, this did not go over well and Tony has since apologized for his ill advised remarks in a statement today, 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,” he said. “My life 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 behavior.” He also added that, “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.”
Bottom line — the singer messed up, there’s no way around it. When dealing with such a tragic and sensitive issue it’s best to proceed with caution and think before you speak. Ed Kowalski, a director of the 9/11 Families for a Secure America Foundation, said it best: “Tony should stick to singing songs rather than making an unintelligent statement about U.S. foreign policy.”