Tony Bennett is a proud American, and he never meant to say otherwise.
But after a Tuesday appearance on Howard Stern's show, the 85-year-old singer came under fire for placing blame on Americans for the tragic September 11, 2001 attacks in NYC, Washington, DC and Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania. ("They flew the plane in, but we caused it," he told Stern. "Because we were bombing them and they told us to stop.") On Wednesday, Bennett explained his controversial remarks to Us Weekly.
"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 told Us. "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."
"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 added.
Bennett -- who told Stern the "first time I saw a dead German [is] when I became a pacifist" -- told Us his "life experiences -- ranging from the Battle of the Bulge or marching with Martin Luther King - made me a life-long humanist and pacifist, and reinforced my belief that violence begets violence and that war is the lowest form of human behavior."