The star says: "I am not pro-Iraq. I am pro-peace"...

MADONNA has defended the anti-war video for her new single ‘AMERICAN LIFE’, after criticism was levelled at her for being “anti-BUSH.”

The star has posted a message on her website, declaring: “I am not anti-Bush. I am not pro-Iraq. I am pro-peace.”

The Jonas Ackerlund-directed video depicts military outfits being modelled at a fashion show, with Madonna dressed as a superhero throwing hand grenades, cut with images of war victims. Her spokesperson said the fashion show escalated into a “mad frenzy, depicting the catastrophic repercussions and horror of war”.

In her statement, Madonna said that she wanted to express her feelings about “our culture and values and the illusion of what many people believe is the American dream – the perfect life.”

Declaring that she feels “lucky to be an American citizen for many reasons – one of which is the right to express myself freely,” she added: “As an artist, I hope that this provokes thought and dialogue. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my point of view. I am grateful to have the freedom to express these feelings and that’s how I honour my country.”

The single is released in March, followed by her ninth album, also called ‘American Life’, in April. The 11-track album is to be followed later in the year with a Madonna retrospective box-set, to celebrate 20 years in the music industry.