Government apologists are still trying to blame the torture and rape which occurred at Abu Ghraib on "a couple of bad apples".
However, as the Guardian wrote in 2004:
The sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison was not an invention of maverick guards, but part of a system of ill-treatment and degradation used by special forces soldiers that is now being disseminated among ordinary troops and contractors who do not know what they are doing, according to British military sources.
The techniques devised in the system, called R2I - resistance to interrogation - match the crude exploitation and abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad.- Advertisement -
One former British special forces officer who returned last week from Iraq, said ... British and US military intelligence soldiers were trained in these techniques...
Using sexual jibes and degradation, along with stripping naked, is one of the methods taught on both sides of the Atlantic under the slogan "prolong the shock of capture", he said.
Indeed, it has been confirmed that the "SERE" torture techniques deployed as official policy by the U.S. government (you know, the techniques developed by the communists to force prisoners to make false confessions) included the routine use of "sexual humiliation" and "sexual degradation" (this also includes the famous leading of naked prisoners around on a leash, as well as religious humiliation and degradation, such as urinating on copies of the Koran).
The forced masturbation of prisoners at Abu Ghraib (which is documented in this video as well as the Taguba Report) is almost certainly a form of "sexual humiliation" or "sexual degradation".
But what about the rapes which U.S. soldiers, translators and other personnel participated in? Was that also part of the SERE torture program?
In a way, it does not matter.
Since Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, General Miller and other top Bush administration military and civillian officials created a program in which sexual humiliation and sexual degradation were mandated as part of a systemic program, they had the legal obligation to ensure that things did not spiral even further out of control.
It is a long-established legal doctrine that people can be held liable for failing to properly supervise agents and employees, or for using U.S. personnel who they knew or should have known were dangerous, or for failing to conduct adequate background checks.
Indeed, the above-linked Guardian article said that the chance of someone being driven crazy from the normal application of the SERE sexual humiliation techniques was high.
If "bad apples" committed rape without express authorization, the officials who created the SERE torture program are - at the very least - guilty of criminal negligence in failing to place anyone but the most highly-trained, stable and disciplined personnel available.
Put another way, whether or not Cheney and the boys specifically ordered rape, they are war criminals for creating the environment in which it could occur.