Matthews: Neo-Cons Spread Human Rights at 'Point of a Gun'

On Wednesday's "Hardball" Chris Matthews repeated his charge that neo-cons believe in enforcing human rights only at the "point of gun." During a discussion on protests following the Olympic torch's path to China, "The Financial Times'," Chrystia Freeland pointed out that "neo-cons" as well as liberals, believed in spreading human rights to which Matthews interjected: "Yeah but at the point of a gun!"

The following exchange occurred on the April 9 edition of "Hardball":

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, is this a bit of an elitist issue Chrystia? In other words, college students, people who are perhaps more interested in international events than it is a trade issue?

CHRYSTIA FREELAND, THE FINANCIAL TIMES: Well I think that you could say, potentially, that the Tibet issue is something that maybe liberal elites are more focused on, although, there's a strong argument to make that human rights are something we should all care about. And certainly bringing human rights to the world is something that we've seen the neo-cons focus on a lot. But I think the possible trade aspect–

MATTHEWS: Yeah but at the point of a gun! Their idea of spreading democracy is to go into a country, overrun it with guns, tell everybody what to do, shoot the leaders or hang ‘em, take over and tell people to be democrats.

FREELAND: Not, not in the former Soviet Union. You know I think one of the real tragedies of the war in Iraq is this notion of discrediting America as a country that stands for democracy and human rights around the world. I think that's a really noble part of what America stands for.

MATTHEWS: Well yeah but we're for democracy and human rights if it doesn't mean, is not just another excuse for another war.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.