Capt. Ramsey: You do qualify your remarks. If someone asked me if we should bomb Japan, a simple "Yes. By all means sir, drop that fucker, twice!" I don't mean to suggest that you're indecisive, Mr. Hunter. Not at all. Just, uh... complicated. 'course, that's the way the Navy wants you. Me, they wanted simple.
Hunter: Well, you certainly fooled them, sir.
Ramsey: [chuckles] Be careful there, Mr. Hunter. It's all I've got to rely on, being a simple-minded son of a bitch. Rickover gave me my command, a checklist, a target and a button to push. All I gotta know is how to push it, they tell me when. They seem to want you to know why.
Hunter: I would hope they'd want us all to know why, sir.
Ramsey: At the Naval War College it was metallurgy and nuclear reactors, not 19th-century philosophy. "War is a continuation of politics by other means." Von Clausewitz.
Hunter: I think, sir, that what he was actually trying to say was a little more -
Ramsey: Complicated? [Men laughing]
Hunter: Yes the purpose of war is to serve a political end but the true nature of war is to serve itself.
Ramsey: [Laughing] I'm very impressed. In other words, the sailor most likely to win the war is the one most willing to part company with the politicians and ignore everything except the destruction of the enemy. You'd agree with that.
Hunter: I'd agree that, um, that's what Clausewitz was trying to say.
Ramsey: But you wouldn't agree with it?
Hunter: No, sir, I do not. No, I just think that in the nuclear world the true enemy can't be destroyed.
Ramsey: [Chuckling, tapping glass] Attention on deck. Von Clausewitz will now tell us exactly who the real enemy is. [Laughing] Von? [Men laughing]
Hunter: In my humble opinion, in the nuclear world, the true enemy is war itself.
Hunter: Captain, here's the results from the missile drill.
Capt. Ramsey: [looks at the missile drill results] Is this the best they can do?
Hunter: No sir. But, that's what they did.
Capt. Ramsey: I want this down to five minutes. Train on it.
Hunter: Yes, sir.
Capt. Ramsey: Tell your buddy Weaps to do it again, and keep on doing it until he gets it right.
Hunter: Yes, sir.
Capt. Ramsey: It looks like the whole crew needs a kick in the ass.
Hunter: Or a pat on the back, sir. I just witnessed a fight down in crew's mess, no big deal. It appears that the crew is a bit on edge about all we're going through. Morale seems a bit low.
Capt. Ramsey: [picks up the intercom and speaks into it] May I have your attention please, crew of the Alabama, Mr. Hunter has brought it to my attention that morale maybe a bit low. and you might be a bit... [looks to Hunter]
Hunter: [whispers] On edge.
Capt. Ramsey: [over the intercom] On edge. so, I suggest this. Any crew member who thinks that they can't handle the situation, can leave the ship right now. Gentlemen, we are at DEFCON three, war is IMMINENT. This is the captain. That is all. [hangs up the intercom]
Hunter: Very inspiring, sir.
[Captain Ramsey and Cdr Hunter argue over a missile launch, and the captain wants Hunter arrested for defying his orders]
Hunter: Captain Ramsey, under operating procedures governing the release of nuclear weapons we cannot launch our missiles unless both you, and I agree.
Ramsey: [shouting over Hunter] COB, what're you waiting for?
Hunter: Now this is not a formality, sir. This is expressly why your command must be repeated. It requires my assent, I do not give it and furthermore, if you continue upon this course, and insist upon this launch without confirming this message first...
Ramsey: [shouting over Hunter] Son of a bitch... As commanding officer of the USS Alabama I order you to place the XO under arrest under charges of mutiny.
Hunter: I will be forced, backed by the rules of precedents...
Ramsey: [shouting at the Chief of the Boat, over Hunter] I say again, as commanding officer of the USS Alabama, I order you...
Hunter: -authority and command, regulation 08150H6 of the Navy regulations, to relieve you of command, Captain.
Ramsey: -to place the XO under arrest, under charges of mutiny! [Silence all round] COB!
Chief of the Boat: Captain, please, the XO is right. We can't launch unless he concurs.
Ramsey: [reading EAM] "To the USS Alabama: Rebel-controlled missiles being fuelled. Launch codes compromised, dissidents threaten to launch at continental United States, set DEFCON 2. Immediately launch ten Trident missile sorties." They're FUELING THEIR MISSILES! We don't have time to fuck around!
Hunter: Sir, I think you need time to think this over.
Ramsey: I DON'T HAVE TO THINK THIS OVER!
Hunter: Captain, I relieve you of your command of this ship. COB, escort the Captain off the bridge, I'm assuming command.
Ramsey: You're not assuming anything!
Hunter: CHIEF OF THE BOAT, Captain Ramsey is under arrest — lock him in his stateroom!
Chief of the Boat: Captain, please...
Hunter: Now, COB!
Hunter: Look, it wasn't a mutiny, I did everything by the book.
Chief of the Boat: It's not about the book. If the Russians are gonna launch and we sit here and do nothing... who's gonna stop 'em? Half of me's glad the Captain came back.
Hunter: No orders are right if they're wrong.
Chief of the Boat: We don't know that.
Hunter: You're right, we don't know. That's why it's our job to find out. [pours coffee] What if Radchenko surrendered and it's over, huh? We launch. They see us, and they launch. Our birds pass each other in the air. Boom. What have you got?
Chief of the Boat: Nuclear war.
Hunter: Nuclear holocaust.
Weapons Officer: Conn, weapons. Russian missiles will have launch capability in seven minutes.
Capt. Ramsey: God help you if you're wrong.
Hunter: If I'm wrong, then we're at war. God help us all.
[Captain Ramsey and Lt Cdr Hunter face the US Navy board of inquiry]
Admiral Anderson: Stand there, Lt Cdr Hunter, this won't take long. This panel has convened in order to investigate the events subsequent to the setting of condition 1SQ for strategic missile launch aboard the USS Alabama on 1 November. Now based on the testimony of personnel onboard the Alabama and in no small measure to that of the senior officer, Captain Ramsey, I'm prepared to make my recommendations to SUBPAC.
LCdr Hunter: Without my testimony, sir?
Anderson: You have a problem with that?
Hunter: I might, sir.
Anderson: I have known Capt Ramsey for almost 30 years. We've served together on more than a few occasions. If he is lying, this will be the first I've heard of it.
Hunter: Yes, sir.
Anderson: My primary concern here is the breakdown in the system. In this instance, the system failed because the two senior officers did not work to resolve their differences while preserving the chain of command. Now you may have been proved right Mr Hunter, but in so far as the letter of the law is concerned, you were both right - and you were also both wrong. This is the dilemma that will occupy this panel, this Navy, and this country's armed forces as a whole long after you leave this room. Off the record, you've both created one hell of a mess. A mutiny aboard a United States nuclear submarine. Violation of nuclear launch protocol. For the record, it is the conclusion of this panel that your actions aboard the Alabama were consistent with the best traditions of the Navy and in the interests of the United States. As such, the recommendations of this panel will be to accept, in a manner reflective of his long and dedicated service to his country, Captain Ramsey's request for early retirement from active duty and, based in no small part on Captain Ramsey's recommendation, that Lt Cdr Hunter be given his next command at the earliest possible convenience. Unless of course, you wish to challenge this recommendations.