Obama's plainspoken announcement of bin Laden's death shows his understanding of the nature of the rhetorical gesture.
"Justice has been done," he said, using the mild passive voice before going into a bare account of the raid.
So where's the gesture? In rhetoric, any meaningful action--any action with a rhetorical purpose--counts as a gesture. A gift can be a nice gesture. Writing a thank you note instead of sending an email: that's a gesture of medium. Killing a ruthless terrorist in his luxury mansion: that's one big honkin' gesture.
A good gesture speaks louder than words, which is why the words accompanying a gesture shouldn't be too loud. Talk softly after swinging that big stick. This may be hard to believe in this era of touchdown dances and missions accomplished. But when in doubt, let the gesture do the big talking.