A relative value raised to the level of absolute? What does that bring to mind? Homicidal humanitarianism perhaps?
What are the ends? Under what narrow circumstances may the State inflict its wholesale civilian slaughter? Of what might that Overriding Public Interest consist to justify what are sure to be only a few and far between if not-so-enumerated atrocities?
Enforcing tariffs (read: "ending slavery"), civilizing savages, vanquishing monarchy, thwarting Nazism, stymying imperialism, containing communism, ensuring the free flow of oil to thankless allies, propping up "friendly" dictators, overthrowing "unfriendly" dictators, curbing extremism, fighting terrorism, exporting democracy, ensuring equal rights, liberating Mohammedan women from their burqas!
What are the means? What form may the homicidal humanitarianism take? What few and far between if not-so-enumerated eggs may the State break to make its tasty omelet?
The March to the Sea, Shenandoah Valley, Trail of Tears, Pacification of the Philippines, Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq War I, Iraq War II, Beneath the Planet of the Iraq War, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ad Nauseam-stan!
See? In the American experience, the State is a model of restraint. And when it acts, it acts only to advance noble goals.