Yesterday, while promoting his new album Duets II on Howard Stern’s radio show, singing legend Tony Bennett claimed “we caused” the attacks of September 11, 2001. To be precise, he said, “They flew the plane in, but we caused it.”
When Stern asked Bennett how we should deal with those responsible for the September 11th attacks the 85-year old entertainer replied, “But who are the terrorists? Are we the terrorists or are they the terrorists? Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Now there are those who say of celebrities who make ill-informed comments, “Ah, who cares what they think?” But I expect more of someone of Bennett’s generation especially considering that he was a infantryman in Europe during WWII. But if Bennett honestly thinks our armed forces are no better than al Qaeda members who deliberately murder civilians then he really doesn’t know the men and women who comprise our military.
UPDATE: Late last night, Bennett issued an apology for his comments. Well, not quite:
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 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.
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.
When someone makes a genuine apology there is an admission of being in the wrong. I don’t see that here. When I hear someone say “we caused” the attacks of September 11, 2001, love of country, hope for humanity and a desire for world peace do not spring to mind. When I hear someone say “we caused” the attacks of September 11, 2001 it suggests that the United States (including the innocent civilians who died that day) is solely to blame for an of unspeakable evil and it effectively absolves al Qaeda of any responsibility for carrying it out. Apology not accepted.