Here goes the idea behind Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last piece of film, A Most Wanted Man: There is no delicate, surgical hand in American justice. Instead, it hammers away at evil in big, imprecise swings that disregard the smaller costs or miss their target completely. And all those costs and misses that accumulate as the U.S. government metes out imprisonment and death—they are the reason America will never win its wars. Not the war on terror. Not the war on drugs.
That is the idea.
For instance: Amid the wreckage of a drone-dropped bomb there may be not only the cadavers of targeted terrorists, but also, at times, the lifeless body of an informant, or an innocent. A large terror cell can be taken down, sure, but only if immunity is granted to the smaller players. The writing of a speeding ticket might slow the response to a murder down the street. All these things, and things like them, hammer and hammer ceaselessly, the bruises blackening and blackening until lives are nearly or completely lost, and justice itself is subverted.