On Saturday, the official statement was that this had been a mistake, a mistargeting in the fog of war.
On Sunday, MSF pointed out that not only did they routinely give the GPS coordinates of the hospital to US forces (most recently five days before the bombing), but they had been on the phone with military officials during the strike trying to get them to stop, with the US nonetheless continuing to bomb for another half hour, and that on top of this the other buildings in the compound were undamaged even as just the hospital was destroyed.
On Monday, the US rolled back its story, claiming that the strike had been deliberate, but had been necessary because the Taliban was using the hospital as a base and had been firing out of it, pinning down US and Afghan forces and requiring close air support.
On Tuesday, as film reviewed by the AP demonstrated that this was not, in fact, the case, and that nobody had been firing anything from the hospital, the US rolled back its story yet again, and is now claiming that while there were a lot of civilian casualties in the hospital, the attack was nonetheless justified because there were a lot of senior Taliban members in the hospital who were also killed.
As MSF's General Director, Christopher Stokes, said on Sunday, these latest official US statements "[amount] to admission of a war crime;" at this point, the statements amount to "yes, we blew up a hospital with people in it, and yes, we did that on purpose, but we were justified in doing so."
[Edited to add: And on Wednesday, the administration admitted fault and promised a "transparent, thorough, and objective accounting" for what happened. h/t ]
What seems to be the case, and what most sources have started to concede, is that the Afghan government has long hated the existence of this particular hospital, as (like all MSF hospitals) it has been known to treat whoever was sick or injured and came through the door, no matter which side they were on.
My best estimate of the underlying reasoning, at this point, has to do with the Obama administration's ongoing negotiations with the Afghan government about the pullout of remaining US forces, and their urge to make extra-nice with the Afghans -- say, by blowing up some hospitals for them -- to try to keep them on our side for a bit longer after we leave.
The article linked provides an excellent timeline, as well as quotes from all sides as the story unrolled, so that you can see how the official statements have shifted as each line became untenable in turn.
 Disclosure: You'll find me on their major donors list for the past decade.
[This post has been edited with a substantial rewrite for clarity, since I wrote the first draft half-asleep.]
- Thanks to all Birthday well-wishers in the Twitterverse. Born in 1958, yet I don’t feel a day over 57.
- October — a popular month in which to be born, corresponding with conception on New Year’s day of the Gregorian Calendar.
- A rant on #WhenIWasYourAge follows…
- #WhenIWasYourAge Pluto was a planet. T-Rex dragged his tail. And the Brontosaurus was always chewing vegetation.
- #WhenIWasYourAge Photographs were records of your life experience, and not the life experience itself.
- #WhenIWasYourAge A photograph lived inside your camera, cloaked in mystery for weeks, until you took exactly 35 more photos.
- #WhenIWasYourAge Milk was not yet the farthest thing from the front entrance to your grocery store.
- #WhenIWasYourAge We consumed Twinkles, Cool Whip, and Yoo-hoo, without questioning their chemical composition.
- #WhenIWasYourAge Corn Pops Frosted Flakes & Honey Smacks were instead called Sugar Pops Sugar Frosted Flakes & Sugar Smacks
- #WhenIWasYourAge We had candy cigarettes, gun-shaped cigarette lighters, and sucked flavored sugar through a straw.
- #WhenIWasYourAge Extracting ketchup from its narrow-necked glass bottle occasionally made you question the laws of gravity.
- #WhenIWasYourAge An ashtray was a time-honored gift you could bring to a person's home.
- #WhenIWasYourAge Second-hand smoke was when somebody offered you a toke on whatever they were puffing.
- #WhenIWasYourAge All hotel rooms smelled of cigarette smoke.
- #WhenIWasYourAge Partly sunny days were called partly cloudy.
- #WhenIWasYourAge Sauce was called Gravy.
- #WhenIWasYourAge Rain Forests were called Jungles. And Wetlands were called Swamps.
- #WhenIWasYourAge We cured diseases and went to the Moon, benchmarking our usage of the word “Awesome."
- #WhenIWasYourAge America launched its own Astronauts into space — with its own Spaceships.
- #WhenIWasYourAge America had the tallest buildings in the world.
- #WhenIWasYourAge A commercial airplane, the Concorde, cruised at twice the speed of sound — 3x faster than planes today.
- #WhenIWasYourAge People dressed up when they flew on Airplanes.
- #WhenIWasYourAge You could kiss your loved-one goodbye at the airport gate. And return home.
- #WhenIWasYourAge, Before scooper laws, nobody knew for sure what squeezing Dog Poop into the palm of your hand felt like.
- #WhenIWasYourAge My car got seven miles per gallon. Ten, downhill. Twelve, with a tailwind.
- #WhenIWasYourAge The weather started feeling cold in September.
- #WhenMyParentsWereYourAge “In God We Trust" was neither on our money, the Pledge of Allegiance, or the front wall of Congress
- #WhenIWasYourAge James Bond was probably infected with multiple STDs.
- #WhenIWasYourAge it was people who were smart, and phones that were dumb.
We need to know how badly we have been sold down the river this time.
- Kent State University
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