So back in the world of 1999, suppose you saw the following sentence in an editorial in a mainstream American publication.
Torture is like almost every other issue: It involves trade-offs between the rights of individuals and the needs of society.
What would your emotional reaction to that phrase be? Assuming of course that it's being used seriously and not as a caveat or qualifier to introduce something else*, you'd think that the writer was nuts and you'd be right.
The world didn't change on 9/11. We did. And not for the better.
*This is how it's being used in the article I link to. Michael Kinsley is not supporting torture, he's dissecting the "ticking time bomb" "argument". I choose this quote at this link because it's a succinct summary of what many people really are arguing, and those people really are nuts.