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Tony Bennett apologizes for 9/11 comment

September 21, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Singer Tony Bennett has apologized for a comment he made during a recent radio interview suggesting that the United States provoked the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The 85-year-old Grammy-winning singer and war veteran disagreed with radio host Howard Stern's premise that the 9/11 attacks led to U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"They flew the plane in, but we caused it," Bennett said. "We were bombing them, and they told us to stop."

Bennett said Wednesday that he was only expressing his feelings as a pacifist.

"I am so grateful to be an American and as a World War II veteran, I was proud to fight to protect our values, which have made America the greatest country on the planet," Bennett said in a statement. "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."

Bennett said that his experiences in war and marching with Martin Luther King Jr. had led him believe that violence begets violence.

"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," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.