Tony Bennett recorded “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” in 1962, but with his recent comments about terrorism and the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, he left behind some controversy.
Appearing on “The Howard Stern Show” Monday to promote his new album, “Duets II,” the singer ended up discussing his military service during World War II and the impact it had on him.
“The first time I saw a dead German, that’s when I became a pacifist,” he said.
Sixty-five years after leaving his military life behind, Bennett has sold more than 50 million albums and developed some definite opinions about other wars involving the United States.
“To start a war in Iraq was a tremendous, tremendous mistake internationally,” he said.
Howard Stern then asked Bennett about how the United States should deal with terrorists, specifically those responsible for the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.
“But who are the terrorists? Are we the terrorists or are they the terrorists? Two wrongs don’t make a right,” Bennett said.
In a soft-spoken voice, the singer disagreed with Stern’s premise that the 9/11 terrorists’ actions led to U.S. military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“They flew the plane in, but we caused it,” Bennett responded, “because we were bombing them and they told us to stop.”
One day later, the 85-year-old singer took to his latest stage, Facebook, and wrote, ” 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 also cited his World War II experience as shaping his position 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,” he said.