Saito: I do not think you quite realize my position. I must carry out my orders...My orders are to complete the bridge by the twelfth day of May. Time is short. I only have twelve weeks more...Therefore, I am compelled to use all available personnel.
Nicholson: But no officers, except in an administrative capacity.
Saito: But officers ARE working along the entire railway. You know it. I know it.
Nicholson: I'm not responsible for the actions of other commanding officers. Personally, I'm appalled.
Saito: Let's not get excited. Would you have a cigar?
Nicholson: No, thank you.
Saito: When I said: 'All officers must work,' naturally I never meant you - the commanding officer. My orders were only intended for officers below...
Nicholson: None of my officers will do manual labor!
Saito: PLEASE. I was about to say, I've been thinking the matter over and have decided to put majors and above in administrative duties, leaving only the duty officers to lend a hand.
Nicholson: I'm afraid not. The Convention's quite clear on that point.
Saito: Do you know what will happen to me if the bridge is not built on time?
Nicholson: I haven't the foggiest.
Saito: I'll have to kill myself. What would you do if you were me?
Nicholson: I suppose if I were you, I'd have to kill myself. Cheers! [He drinks the glass of Scotch]
Saito: I warn you, colonel. If I am to die, others will die before me. Do you understand that?
Nicholson: Major Clipton did mention something to that effect...That won't solve your problem. I'm sure we can arrive at the proper solution. Please sit down. Now, tell me, uh, Colonel. Do you or do you not agree that the first job of an officer is command?
Saito: Of course.
Nicholson: [standing and assuming superiority] This bridge of yours, it's quite an enormous undertaking, and to be frank, I have grave doubts whether your Lieutenant, what's his name?...Miura, is capable of tackling a job of such importance. On the other hand, I have officers, Reeves and Hughes for instance, who've built bridges all over India. The men respect them. It's essential for an officer to have that respect, I'm sure you agree. (If) he loses it, he ceases to command and what happens then? Demoralization and chaos. A pretty poor commander I would be if I allowed that to happen to my men.
Saito: Perhaps you are not aware that the bridge is now under my personal command.
Nicholson: Really? May I ask: 'Are you satisfied with the work?'
Saito: I AM NOT!
Nicholson: Proves my point.
Saito: [as he plunges the dinner knife into the tabletop] I hate the British. You are defeated, but you have no shame. You are stubborn, but have no pride. You endure, but you have no courage. Leave this place!
Nicholson: It's pointless going on like this.
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