Really, jpinard is on the right track. This is more theater. Deadly theater, but theater nonetheless. There are no real policy goals as far as I can tell, beyond perhaps sowing enough chaos to justify the sort of jackbooted domestic imperium some of the Trump camp seem to want. Like the immigration action, this was simply showing “decision” and “action,” vice the supposed wimpy inaction and indecision of Obama. Never mind the inaccuracies of the view, it’s what plays in Peoria.
For years the right has been clamoring for more military action, despite not having usually the vaguest idea of what that action would or could accomplish. They’ve been pitching an image of American military power that simultaneously exaggerates its capability to actually change facts on the ground, and downplays the difficulties of conducting even modestly effective actions. And unlike the Bush cabinet, which though I hated most of those folks at least could boast of some awareness and competence in these things, Trump’s circle has pretty much no one who understands the geopolitical situation or the real constraints on military power, much less the details of intelligence or combat operations. Instead, we have people who genuinely believe–or disingenuously and criminally pretend to believe-- that simply because we are the USA we are the ultimate military power and if only the politicians would take the gloves off we can do anything, to anyone, and be totally successful. It doesn’t help, either, that they certainly revel in the myth of redemptive violence, in spaces.
Obama’s policies in terms of drones and other actions were not ideal, but at least that administration understood the limitation to a large degree; a lot of the problematic stuff stemmed I think from trying to do something while not screwing things up too badly. In an ideal world, military action would only be authorized with clear and attainable goals, and after careful cost-benefit analysis. I admit, sometimes your hand is forced, but all I see from the Trump administration is posturing and a desire to show how tough we are, backed by the incredibly dangerous and naive belief that the USA is unbeatable. Hell, we may not be assailable at the strategic nuclear level (not without suicidal consequences for an attacker) but there are many, many situations below that level where we simply are not positioned, equipped, or informed enough to reliably prevail all the time.
But then, this administration doesn’t care, really. They have no policy or goals that I can see, beyond a vague sense of American superiority over, well, everyone.