The Republican (Mass.), Dec. 3:

Sometimes giving war a chance is the only option.

While few in power like to say it, especially those who’ve gotten elected by running against the military actions of their predecessors, President Barack Obama’s defense secretary, Ashton Carter, effectively acknowledged as much on Dec. 1 when he told the House Armed Services Committee that U.S. special operations forces and associated support personnel would step up efforts to battle the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

According to a senior Defense Department official, some 40 special operations members would receive support from more than 150 personnel. While this is far from an actual war, an allout assault, it’s a long-overdue acknowledgement that what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working and cannot continue.

We are pleased to see such sensible talk regarding ISIS.

And we do not, of course, come to this conclusion lightly. During the drawn-out run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, this space was solidly and unwaveringly against that ill-advised assault. We argued repeatedly against the decision to topple Saddam Hussein, fearing the destabilizing effects that such a move might ultimately have in Iraq and across the region.

But that was then. Once the invasion was launched, that argument became one for the books. If one had repeatedly warned about a particularly unsafe basement heating system that would inevitably lead to a fire, continuing to make that case when the house was in flames would do no one any good. The fire would have created a new reality.

So too did the invasion.

Still, our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq left the public weary of more military actions. And this, more than anything else, led to the rise and election of the largely antiwar Obama.

But reality so often has a way of messing with one’s plans.

We will not defeat ISIS with an aerial campaign alone. We can either admit that today, or we can acknowledge it at some point down the road. Thankfully, Carter’s mostly plain talk on Dec. 1 was, at a minimum, a tacit admission that a new course must, and will, be pursued.

Once the battle is on, remaining resolutely opposed to war won’t get you anywhere – except deeper into trouble.