If you interested in the torture scandal in the U.S. military, you may want to have a look at my review of two new books about Kenya's anticolonial terrorists, the Mau Mau. Long story short: they were as ruthless as the fighters in the Iraqi insurgency are. 50 years out, whether history should judge them as freedom fighters or just nihilistic terrorists is still not decided.
But more relevant to today's headlines is that in trying to crush the Mau Mau, Britain decided to classify prisoners taken as something other than POWs, thus allowing them to slip free of international agreements on indefinite detention and torture. The Bush administration has done the same, while continuing to deny that torture is winked at anywhere. In Kenya, colonial authorities gave similar assurances, but at camps suspects were carted off to a place where no one could find them, and put through what one author calls a gulag. A decidedly pessimistic historical parallel.