Prolegomenon: The key words here are provocation versus justification.
Tony Bennett in a Monday “radio” interview said inter alia that “[t]o start a war in Iraq was a tremendous, tremendous mistake internationally.” What’s more, Bennett dared question who were the actual perpetrators. “But who are the terrorists? Are we the terrorists or are they the terrorists? Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
And then, he did it. He dared to say this: “They flew the plane in, but we caused it. Because we were bombing them and they told us to stop.” Wow.
He then recalled an evening in 2005 when he was honored at the Kennedy Center. He said that Dubya himself shared his opinion about the Iraq War. “He told me personally that night that, he said, ‘I think I made a mistake,’” Bennett said, stating that he believed that POTUS made this revelation because “he had a special liking to me.”
I have a newfound respect for Tony Bennett as a man and as a citizen. He did, however, fail or refuse to mention the usual knee-jerk rote explanation that I’ve yet to understand to this day, viz. “they” hate our freedom. And ironically, this country whose freedom of speech the terrorists allegedly abhor now tells this brilliant singer and WWII infantry veteran that his opinion went too far.
Tony may have left his heart in Frisco, but his guts and elephantine cójones are intact. Well, sorta.
Yesterday he wrote on Facebook ”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 added, “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.”
I wish he would have said instead, “You heard me the first time. I’m not backing down. It’s my opinion, goddammit!”
The freedom of expression is just an expression.