This is really, really flawed. I could go into all the reasons why, or I could just take Smith's view to its logical historical extension and see how sane the whole thing seems to you. I'll do the latter. And so:
Whether or not the American counterinsurgency waged in Iraq’s Sunni regions was successful, Bush did not win Iraq, and Washington has no intention to win Iraq. It’s not me who says so, but rather a broad cross-section of America’s political, military and intelligence classes. Back in July 2008, Andrew himself wrote the following:The past year and half have demonstrated that despite impressive gains in Iraq and a truly heroic effort by our soldiers and diplomats, a large portion of that country’s security environment is determined by the Iranians, who have leverage with nearly all of Iraq’s political parties and factions. If Iran desires to turn the heat up there or elsewhere in the region, it can.
Even Gen. David Petraeus, the man credited with a successful counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq, acknowledged in his senate testimony in March that "the Iranian regime has embarked on a broad campaign led by the IRGC-Qods Force to influence Iraqi politics and support, through various means, parties loyal to Iran. The Qods Force also maintains its lethal support to Shia Iraqi militia groups, providing them with weapons, funding, and training."
If the Iranians are capable of heating up Iraq, if they are able to embark on a broad campaign including both political and military aspects, then the US did not win in Iraq. The test of victory is simply whether or not you are capable of imposing terms on your adversaries; if you can’t, if rather they shape your strategic decisions -- e.g., if they determine your security environment by funding, arming and training militias -- then you have not won.
Or think of it like this: after VE Day what capacity did the Nazis have to heat things up for US troops in France and Italy and consequently determine US strategy? American society may have changed during the last half century so that we no longer know how to describe victory, but the objective standards for defining victory have not changed, nor have they changed at any time during the course of human history. The Iranians are able to shape our regional strategy because we did not win.
It bears repeating that it is not me who says we did not win, but rather our decision-makers. Of course, they do not explicitly say that we did not win, only that the Iranians can hurt us in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is the same thing.
After VE Day, what capacity did the Soviets have to heat things up for US troops in Germany, or to deny them access to central and eastern Europe? What capacity did the Soviets have to deny the US complete dominion over Europe, or unipolarity, or limitless determination of the postwar geopolitical landscape? (Hint: if you said "nearly total," or at least "really, really high," then you're right!)
Postwar Germany is a really bad comparison for Iran for one simple reason: as much as it may disappoint Lee Smith, we haven't been fighting a war against Iran, and we haven't invaded Iranian territory! If "winning" means the exclusive, limitless ability to shape the postwar battlespace in any way we like, then we're very rarely going to "win" anything at all without engaging in total, regional war. It seems that Smith would probably agree with this analysis, and support that policy option. His stated support for aggressive action against Tehran and Damascus certainly doesn't suggest otherwise.
And so we're back where we started, really: Lee Smith is just another guy who thinks of the military instrument as a means to crush in their entirety the enemy's will and means to resist, not so much shaping outcomes as dictating them in toto. Must've been sick the day they taught Clausewitz.