His audience laughed at him. As he knew they would. Only strange part is that he kept a straight face himself while spouting such drivel. But then, that's part of a politician's training: a non-politician would have had to put a napkin in front of his face to avoid showing his giggles. Presumably his words were intended for domestic American political purposes: keep the war drums beating softly so that when needed they can quickly be brought to a crescendo. Never let them fall mute. Otherwise peace might break out, to the dismay of him and his masters.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter 'deeply regrets' loss of lives in Afghanistan hospital attack (AP)
from the article: Gates: Israel doesn't pose nuclear threat like Iran