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The following section contains details about the plot or ending.
"Home? We can’t go home. There’s a line men like us have to cross. If we’re lucky, we do what’s necessary, and then we die. No…all I really want, Captain, is peace."
— John Konrad

John Konrad is the apparent main antagonist in Spec Ops: The Line and the former commander of the 33rd Infantry Battalion, although the Konrad in the game is actually a hallucination seen as the main antagonist by Walker. Colonel Konrad and his men volunteered to help evacuate Dubai during the sandstorm crisis, but when ordered to leave by his superiors, he refused, essentially damning the 33rd Infantry.

Konrad had intended to stay behind and evacuate survivors. He and his men established a new military government in Dubai to maintain order while the evacuation plan was set up. When he attempted his evacuation by road, it failed, leaving 1,300 men, women, and children dead.

Throughout the game Konrad contacts and taunts Walker, first appearing in chapter nine after Delta finds the charred remains of his command team. Konrad proceeds to tell them that he was only doing what he thought was necessary as these men disobeyed his direct orders and had to be made examples of if "order was to be maintained".

At the end of the story, he is found at the top of the tower, painting a woman and child being stuck in a crowd dying from white phosphorous (reminding Walker of the events at the Gate), and Walker discovers that Konrad has been dead since before Delta arrived in Dubai. The real Colonel Konrad committed suicide after delivering the broadcast two weeks prior, out of guilt for the death toll suffered by Dubai, the brutality of the 33rd's harsh governance, the failure of the attempted evacuation, the civil war with the 33rd Exiles, and the insurgency led by the CIA. The Colonel Konrad that Walker has been in contact with for the latter half of the game is actually a hallucination, existing only within his subconsciousness (acting as the guilt in Walker's mind).

According to one of the intel items, a CIA file on the psycho-analysis of John Konrad, the Colonel may have gone to Dubai trying to restore his reputation. He was a highly decorated leader, but his last combat mission in Afghanistan was a failure. According to the file, Konrad had been praised so much previously, that he had come to believe he was a hero, and that when faced with his first failure, he might go to extreme lengths to prove his hero status correct.

This explains why he knew what Walker was going through. Konrad had also tried to be a hero, which had dire consequences of the actions he made.

QuotesEdit

"You must think that I'm a monster...that I've gone insane. I came to terms with what I am a long time ago, Captain. What about you?"
— Konrad to Walker.
"Survival Captain, plain and simple. "
— Konrad to Walker.
"You aren't the first man they sent to find me...I doubt you'll be the last."
— Konrad to Walker.
"This is Colonel John Konrad, United States Army. The attempted evacuation of Dubai ended in...complete failure. Convoy stalled. Trapped in the storm 18 klicks out of Dubai. Death toll: too many. We are walking back."
— Konrad's distress call.
"No matter what happens next, don't be too hard on yourself. Even now, after all you've done, you can still go home. Lucky you."
— The hallucinatory Konrad's last words to Walker
"Everything is teetering on the edge of everything. But this you already know. The rest, you'll have to see for yourself."
— Konrad to Walker.
"Do you feel like a hero yet?"
— Konrad to Walker.

TriviaEdit

  • Konrad saved Captain Walker's life during a combat mission in Kabul by dragging him half a mile to an evacuation flight. One ending has Walker talk about Kabul "before it all went bad," implying that some major offensive occurred around the time the 33rd withdrew. Most likely this is a parallel with the US withdrawal from Vietnam.
  • Colonel Konrad's surname is a combined reference to the author of Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, a novel that the game is based on, and Kurtz, the antagonist in both Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now, the loose movie adaptation of the novella.
  • He had a wife named Elizabeth and a son named Jeremy who he writes to in two of the pieces of intel.
  • His depicted awards in the introduction are, from left to right, a Congressional Medal of Honor, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit and Soldier's Medal. The "fruit salad" ribbons on the right pocket of his jacket are a Presidential Unit Citation, Joint Meritous Unit Award, Valorous Unit Award, and what appears to be an Army Superior Unit Award. The other side includes a Vietnam Service ribbon. The jacket itself is the older green service uniform.
  • Konrad's descent into madness and grief over his failures and the atrocities he has committed is the same fate that eventually befalls Walker.
  • In the last Chapter, when Konrad finishes his painting, he asks Walker his feeling about it. The painting depicts the horror of civilian killed by the white phosphorus because of Delta's actions. Walker says "You did this". Konrad replies "No, you did." This is a reference the famous Guernica painting, exposed at the 1937 world exposition in Paris. A German officer asked Pablo Picasso if he did it, and the painter answered "No, you did." The Spanish town of Guernica was bombed several months before by German airstrike, during the Spanish civil war. It was the first time a city filled with innocent civilians was bombed for psychological effect, as there were no military objectives. Telling to the German officer "No, you did." was a way for Picasso to make him face the responsibility for this warcrime.
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