I think this is a caricature. It is hard to unleash total annihilation without unacceptable levels of the deaths of non-combatants. This war will always be fought little by little, and targets will always be based on intelligence. Neither the citizenry nor the leadership have the stomach for a massive invasion, or massive destruction by air or by missile.
It's a frustrating reality of this war, but it doesn't do any good to pretend that's not the reality. There will be no sustained escalation. There may be a further withdrawal, but don't count on that reducing the threats. Even if we do stop banging on the hornets nest, the hornets will still be out for blood.
The point isn't to make the hornets less aggressive. That's impossible.
The point is to make them less numerous. Make it harder to recruit. If most of your society hasn't had a negative experience with a Westerner, they likely won't give a shit about our heathen ways.
If a drone recently fucked up and bombed their cousin's wedding, though? Yeah, they're more likely to listen to the bellicose narrative that puts us at "war."
The point is net results and end goals.
Does our military action and destabilization of the region cause a net reduction or increase in terrorist activity? That's the question that ultimately matters. Given that the War on Terror has been going on for years, decades depending on when you formally begin it (overthrow of Mossadeq? Iranian Hostage Crisis? The Six Day War? Gulf War I? Kuwait? Afghanistan?) and things only seem to be getting worse, maybe, JUST MAYBE, it's worth considering a different approach to the problem. Because clearly, at best, the one we're using isn't working, and there are very real ways in which it might be making the problem worse (while also wasting the lives o young American soldiers and endangering civilians in the area)