by Barry Eisler
I largely agree, though I'd like to stress that I don't see this as a kind of conspiracy. Instead, it's pieces falling together in a way that forms a stable and often-repeated behaviour.
Naive and reckless politicians begin a war not understanding much of it, supported by infotainment media. Officers make careers of it, glee at the flood of resources that their bureaucracy receives and of course they want to avert the prestige-harming embarrassment of admitting that they cannot accomplish the mission under the existing circumstances.
Pundits and other lobbyists chime in and ask for yet another six months ... all the time. They, too, understand admission of failure as an embarrassment, and try to make the public believe that the nation would be embarrassed, fail its new allies and so on.
There's no conspiracy that creates long wars; dangerous idiots start a war, and several groups in pursuit of their self-interest try to delay a bad ending while being too incompetent to achieve a "good" ending.
Germany still lacked most of those pieces during the ISAF mission. It was mostly the naive and reckless politicians who feared the embarrassment of failure (similar to the behaviour in the bailouts for Greece's creditors). The military side was hardly noticed by the public, there's a marginal pundit scene and the army didn't get much more funding anyway. Eventually the stable popular majority against the ISAF mission was proved correct and today almost no German troops are left in Afghanistan. They were there for about a decade for no good reason at all, achieving very little but softening the politicians' embarrassment.