In David Lean's great wartime movie 'Bridge over the river Kwai' the British prisoners of war are set to work building a bridge for the Japanese, Colonel Nichols (Alec Guinness) becomes obsessed with using the construction of the bridge as a means by which his men's discipline can be held together and, more importantly, to prove to the Japanese that the British army are capable of building a better bridge than they. Nichols' monomania makes his men's lives more miserable than the Japanese ever did, but eventually the bridge is finished and Nichols stands proudly gazing upon it, adoring it, it's surely the best bridge in all of Asia, and the British army built it.
Nichols finally understands his monumental folly when he notices allied soldiers desperately trying to destroy his bridge and worse, the chunting of a Japanese train carrying thousands of troops and tonnes of armaments and supplies. Nichols became so blinded by his own ego and chauvinism that he forgot his bridge was a huge benefit to his enemy's war effort, before dying, taking his bridge with him, the heartbroken Nichols gasps ''What have I done?''.
Similarly, Polly Toynbee wrote an article in The Guardian recently which she called: