In what appears to be an epically ill-conceived publicity strategy, legendary crooner Tony Bennett told Howard Stern yesterday, during an interview to promote his new album, Duets II, that America was to blame for 9/11. And, oh, also, George W. Bush admitted to Bennett that the war in Iraq was a mistake. ABC News reports the remarks*:
Stern then asked Bennett about how America 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 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.”
Following seconds of silence, Stern said that his guest was “making some good points.”
Before leaving, Bennett recalled an evening in 2005 when he was honored at the Kennedy Center. Meeting President George W. Bush at the event, the singer said that the commander-in-chief shared his opinion about the Iraq War.
“He told me personally that night that, he said, ‘I think I made a mistake,’” Bennett said.
Bennett believed that the president made this revelation because “he had a special liking to me.”
Now, obviously, Bennett’s comments about 9/11 — even though they’re not very different than the things Ron Paul says all the time — are going to cause an uproar. But before everyone freaks out and storms Bennett’s castle with pitchforks and torches, we’d like to point out that he’s 85 years old, and therefore is pretty old, and old people are allowed to say whatever crazy shit they want. This includes referring to the waitress as the “nice colored girl,” claiming to have taught Mickey Mantle how to hit a baseball, and yes, blaming the United States for 9/11 and pretending that George W. Bush, a man who never admits to doing anything wrong, ever, offered a private mea culpa about the war in Iraq. It all falls under Old People Freedom of Speech. The most us youngsters are allowed to do is grimace and/or knowingly side-glance at each other.