Opinion | Portland’s Pottery Barn Rule

When it comes to committing American troops abroad, Donald Trump adheres to the Pottery Barn rule: You break it, you own it. The rule, according to Bob Woodward, was invoked in 2002 by Secretary of State Colin Powell to warn George W. Bush about the consequences of invading Iraq.

“You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people,” Mr. Powell told the president. “You will own all their hopes, aspirations and problems. You’ll own it all.”

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