Smith made the defense during an interview with Arizona Senator John McCain, who took the President to task for opposing the 2007 troop surge: "...it was President Bush who made the decision - over the vociferous option of the President of the United States, then Senator Obama - to do the surge. And if we had done what President Obama wanted, we would have failed in Iraq because he even voted against the funding for it." After Smith claimed that Obama "had a year and a half to rescind" his opposition to the surge and eventually gave "tacit agreement" to it, McCain replied: "...if we had done what he wanted to do, we would have left and we would have lost and had a horrendous setback to America's national security."
Smith moved on to Afghanistan, still skeptical of the success of the Iraq surge strategy: "If, in fact, the surge was successful in Iraq, is that - is there a lesson from that to be applied to Afghanistan now that we've - there are more than 320 kids have been killed in Afghanistan this year. Are the lessons of Iraq applicable to Afghanistan?"