Since the United States bombed a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, the Obama administration’s explanations have evolved rapidly. What was first described as a “tragic accident” is now being spun as a necessary operation to fight militants.

Indeed, defense officials were cited on Fox News as saying that, while the United States “regrets the loss of innocent life,” Taliban fighters were using the hospital as a base, thus rendering it a legitimate target. This same sentiment was echoed in The Washington Post, and then broadened in The New York Times with claims US forces were under attack from the hospital (a claim the U.S. now admits is false).

While the excuses continue to change, one thing has not: the Obama administration’s suggestion that, regardless of whether Afghan or U.S. forces called for the attack, militants inside the hospital used patients and doctors as human shields, rendering the MSF facility a legitimate target.

Matt Lee, a diplomatic writer for the AP, challenged a State Department official on this position during yesterday’s briefing by recalling how the U.S. responded when Israel shelled a U.N. school in Gaza. In doing so, he left the official unable to answer, stumbling.

Below is video of that exchange and a partial transcript of Lee’s question:

QUESTION: But what I want to ask about is just Administration policy in general. So not that long ago – in fact, just a little over a year ago, in August of 2014 – Israel, during the Gaza conflict, was accused of and, in fact, did bomb a – an UNRWA school in Gaza that killed about 10 people – or did kill 10 people. At the time, this building – in fact, the spokeswoman – issued a statement that was very, very strong, saying, “The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced people. The coordinates of the school, like all UN facilities in Gaza, have been repeatedly communicated to the Israeli Defense Forces. We once again stress that Israel must do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties. UN facilities, especially those sheltering civilians, must be protected and must not be used by bases from which to launch attacks.”And then the sentence that’s key here, and this is what I want to ask about, it says, “The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians.” And then it goes on to call for an investigation. So I just want to – let me see – is it Administration – still Administration policy that the suspicion that militants are operating nearby a site like this, which is a school, that that suspicion does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of innocent civilians? Is that still the Administration’s position?

Is that still the Administration’s position?

Mark Toner, Deputy Spokesperson for the State Department, could not answer. He was unable to bring himself to say, Yes, this is our position.

Why? Because U.S. forces, which had been given coordinates for the Kunduz hospital five days prior to bombing it, knew what it was striking when it bombed the hospital. Because as hospital officials frantically told U.S. officials their facility was being bombed, the shelling continued. Because this was done intentionally. It was not an accident. Just as Israel’s shelling of the UN school in Gaza was not an accident.

When Israel shelled a U.N. school being used as an approved shelter in Gaza, the Obama administration rightfully called it “appalling.”

And that’s exactly what we have done: committed what appears to be an “appalling” war crime.

The McGlynn: The following video, to me, seems relevant.