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.

MSNBC Hardball