Semper Bellum 02 Immersion Guide: Archery and the Genesis of Warfare

This episode is all about the War on Drugs, the role archery and archers played in warfare from ancient to modern times, and how war got started in the first place.

0:00 – 1:05 — Introduction and content warning

Veterans Crisis Line (copied directly from

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1:10 – 3:38 — The War on Drugs

The Global Commission on Drug Policy reports:

The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and 40 years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed. In this seminal report, the Global Commission on Drug Policy calls on global leaders to join an open discussion on drug policy reform”

A “go fast” in action:

The USS McClusky, the ship I served on after I left the Persian Gulf, leaving Pearl Harbor in 2010 (years after I left):

Surreal footage of the McClusky being sunk in the Pacific ocean (this is super weird for me to watch):

Note: These videos are the properties of their respective owners. We’re just linking here to add some context to the episode, these aren’t our videos. However they’re freely available on YouTube where I’m sure their creators will appreciate your views.

You don’t hear about the kind of ops we did in the Caribbean too often, this story on “New Wars” from 2009 is an example of rare coverage from around the period I served aboard the “Mighty Mac.” Here’s an interesting snippet to keep in mind as you listen to me tell the story of the throne made of cocaine bricks that I once posed in front of:

The “Mighty Mac” has collected its share of drug busts when it heads to sea on such deployments to support U.S. SouthCom’s Joint Interagency Task Force-South, the Key West, Fla.-based command that heads the military’s drug-busting arm for the past 20 years. During last year’s deployment, McClusky helped nab more than eight tons of cocaine headed to the United States. Just during a three-month deployment in 2007, the ship’s crew helped seized about 12 tons of cocaine, worth a reportedly $306 million.

In October 2005, the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate hauled in about 5,800 pounds of cocaine aboard the fishing vessel Jose Antonio and helped, along with an embarked team of gun-toting Coast Guardsmen, to detain 16 suspected drug traffickers. Just weeks earlier, McClusky interdicted a high-speed boat and found it carried three and a half tons of cocaine, worth almost $100 million.

Since 2000, according to Navy officials, McClusky has made more than 20 drug seizures during deployments to the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific…”

3:40 – 6:58 — The first battlefield tactics and the birth of warfare

Via Wikimedia Commons: this is the first known depiction of war. We can see four archers using an encirclement tactic to overwhelm a group of three archers.

semper bellum

6:58 – 9:15 — Swamping the enemy

Via the Department of Defense: The rotor wash of a Navy SH-60F Seahawk helicopter kicks up a circle of spray in the Pacific Ocean.

9:15 – 11:45 — Why archery was so important (and why it isn’t anymore)

Here’s a fun Google Search result, I love that it begins with “Mongol archers were feared by everyone”:

Check out this rad video from Simple History highlighting the importance of the English Longbow:

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of chariots in battle, check out this post from History on the Net.

11:50 – 13:46 —Closing thoughts and outro


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