Publication details [#59199]

Oddo, John. 2014. Variation and continuity in intertextual rhetoric: From the “War on Terror” to the “Struggle against Violent Extremism”. Journal of Language and Politics 13 (3) : 512–537.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This article employs critical intertextual analysis (CIA) to examine how American presidents from opposing political parties respectively inaugurated and extended the war in Afghanistan. After explaining the CIA framework, it investigates two post-9/11 “call-to-arms” speeches delivered by George W. Bush and Barack Obama. It is found that Obama responds to changing circumstances (e.g. public dissatisfaction) by varying stylistic elements of Bush’s rhetoric. Nevertheless, he rearticulates the overarching features of Bush’s “war on terror” discourse. Thus, Obama ultimately achieves policy continuity, but only by employing micro-rhetorical strategies that create the appearance of change. It is concluded that, if Obama had been more enterprising, he might have enacted real change – and broken completely with Bush’s rhetoric and policy of global war.