What can be learned about three presidents from how they reported the deaths of terrorist leaders?


The NPR Politics Podcast

NPR Politics: What It Says About Terrorist Leaders Based on How Three Presidents Announced Their Deaths

Expand this picture Alex Wong, Jim Watson, and Brendan Smialowski/Pool/Getty Images

switch to caption Alex Wong, Jim Watson, and Brendan Smialowski/Pool/Getty Images

Alex Wong, Jim Watson, and Brendan Smialowski/Pool/Getty Images Over the past 11 years, it has been commonplace for a U.S. president to declare the demise of a terrorist leader.

The phrases each president used and their demeanor at the podium speak volumes about the kinds of presidents Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden attempted to be—or failed to be, in the case of President Biden.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, the commander of al-Qaida, was assassinated in Kabul over the weekend, according to Biden’s announcement this week.

Trump announced that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIS leader, was assassinated by the United States in 2019. Obama also informed the American people in 2011 that Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, had been slain.

edited videos have appeared online in the days after Biden’s announcement contrasting the speeches of Biden, Obama, and Trump. According to historians and rhetoric specialists who spoke to NPR, dissecting these three speeches is useful even though some of the recordings are made to disparage particular leaders.

According to those specialists, a closer examination of each speech’s delivery, right down to the phrases each speaker used, offers a small window into each guy.

Even though they are very different people, Thomas Schwartz, a professor of history, political science, and European studies at Vanderbilt University, noted that they share several traits.

Schwartz called it “a little bloodthirsty” that Obama, Trump, and Biden used the podium to announce the death of another individual.
However, he continued, “they do understand that there is a domestic political gain from eliminating terrorist leaders, and they want to claim it.

According to Schwartz, each president makes a point to mention in their speeches that they gave the military and intelligence officers the orders to act on the information presented. He added that each man finally aspires to demonstrate his leadership on a worldwide scale.

Presidents are, according to Schwartz, “behind it all attempting to justify themselves politically and get something political.” We can arguably justify our comparison on that level, even if it serves as a stylistic reminder of what people loved and disliked about various administrations.


Expand this picture AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

switch to caption AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais Every expert who spoke with NPR concurred that Obama’s speech was legendary. Although important terrorist leaders were eliminated by Trump and Biden, the seriousness of murdering bin Laden remains unequaled. According to Schwartz, Trump and Biden made some attempts to mimic Obama’s statement about bin Laden.

According to Margaret O’Mara, a history professor at the University of Washington, “Bin Laden was, of course, someone who was someone who was a household name in a way that the other two individuals were not.” So it was sort of an exceptional historical moment, and because it involved bin Laden, it sort of looms larger than the other two.

Nearly ten years after the 9/11 attacks, Obama acknowledged the sorrow felt by the victims, according to O’Mara.
Obama’s speech is far more raw because it was given less than ten years after 9/11, according to her.

“It was nearly 10 years ago today that a sunny September day was darkened by the deadliest attack on the American people in our history,” Obama said in his nine-minute statement, speaking in a measured and solemn manner.

Expand this picture AAP’s Pete Souza

switch to caption AAP’s Pete Souza

AAP’s Pete Souza He continued, saying: “However, we are aware that the most horrific photos are those that the public has never seen. at the dining table, the vacant seat. youngsters who were made to experience life without either their parents. those parents who will never experience their child’s embrace. A huge hole has been left in our hearts as a result of losing almost 3,000 of our citizens.”

Obama also gave a thorough account of how the White House acquired intelligence on bin Laden and briefly outlined the measures special forces used to assassinate him.

Obama’s deliberate and even scholarly approach to discussion was undoubtedly brought to mind while watching him, according to Schwartz.

Expand this picture Author: Manuel Balce Ceneta

switch to caption Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Author: Manuel Balce Ceneta When announcing Abu Bakr al-execution Baghdadi’s in 2019, former President Trump adopted a very different strategy.

The comparison of Trump’s speech to those of Obama and Biden offers “a window into a number of things,” according to O’Mara.

It’s a window into how Trump was such a different president, not just from the two men who were on each side of him, but also distinct from modern presidents generally, she added. If you take a step back and examine the presidential oratory of presidents from both parties, you’ll see that the content and tone are significantly different.

Trump, known for giving protracted campaign speeches, spoke for a lot longer than either Obama or Biden during this announcement. After giving his opening speech, which lasted more than eight minutes, he fielded questions from media for an additional 40 minutes.

Trump also described the raid in dramatic detail while using emotional language to characterize both al-Baghdadi and the manner in which he passed away.

“No people were lost in the operation, but many of Baghdadi’s comrades and combatants died with him. He ran into a tunnel that led nowhere and died, weeping, sobbing, and screaming the entire way “Added Trump.

“The thug who worked so hard to frighten others spent his last moments in abject despair, in pure panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him,” he continued as he described the operation.

These analysts pointed out that this relates to Trump’s background in business and reality television rather than politics.

Jennifer Mercieca, a professor at Texas A