Yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured his interviewers on Fox News that the threat from Iran is totally "real" and "credible" - though he once again refused to get into specifics. But whatever the threat might be, American troops in the region will soon be able to sleep a little easier, because the White House and Pentagon have reportedly agreed to send "roughly 2,000" additional troops to the Middle East...to help protect American forces in the region.
Other reports put the number at closer to 1,500. Trump met with Pentagon leaders Thursday evening where they decided to move ahead with the troop deployment to CENTCOM, which oversees all American troops in the Middle East.
The US will also send additional Patriot missile defense capabilities and surveillance and reconnaissance units, according to the Washington Post, which broke the story.
Before the White House meeting, Trump told reporters that he didn't think it would be necessary to send more troops to the region, but added the caveat: "If we need it, we'll be there in whatever numbers we need."
Patrick Shanahan, the acting defense secretary, said the purpose of the additional troops woulb be for "protection" of existing US forces, and "deterrence."
Though Washington has been vague about the exact nature of the immediate threat from Iran that prompted the evacuation of diplomatic personnel from nearby Iraq, Iran has certainly been getting more belligerent by the day, reiterating its threats to seize control of the Strait of Hormuz - which could damage the global oil trade - while promising to start stockpiling enriched uranium again.
But to give credit where credit is due, Trump has done an expert job of managing expectations: First, he denied reports about a Pentagon plan to send 120,000 troops to the region as he chided the neoconnish John Bolton for trying to start a war.
Then, reports earlier this week put the number of the troop surge at 10,000.
Now, Trump will look like he's resisting the whims of Bolton and the generals by capping the number at 2,000.
Though, to be sure, an aircraft carrier strike force is sitting in the Persian Gulf, and a squad of B-52 bombers have been deployed to nearby Qatar. The US has already built up its forces in the region - another 2,000 troops is relatively insignificant.
It's worth remembering: Despite these escalations, the official line from the Pentagon is there's no plan to go to war.