This is a good place to make it clear that, in this case, comparisons to Nazi and Communist tortures, far from being some kind of wild violation of decorum, are exactly what’s essential—essential because without the belief that, even in wartime, there are acceptable and unacceptable forms of violence, the post-Second World War war-crimes trials, in which we place great pride, would indeed be no more than what the ex-Nazis always said they were: pure victor’s justice. If we believe, as we do, that those trials were truly just, then that is because the acts that they sanctioned, including the torture of prisoners, were evil inherently, not just evil when done by other folks.

Adam Gopnik, “Fear and Torture”