I agree - most people can't do a HIT program properly, but it's not necessarily their fault. In the discussions under the first Darden interview I discussed at length how HIT ignores the nervous system. This going one set all out is a good example of how HIT doesn't take into account CNS activation. Ever notice how you need several warm up sets to get to a good working weight? I've started a squat workout for instance, loaded 205 on the bar, did 5 reps that felt ugly and heavy, and thought no way will I get past 255 today. But by the end of the workout I was doing solid reps with 315. This is a nervous system thing. As I added weight, my nervous system "woke up" and was able to get the right muscles firing in the proper sequence to do a proper squat.
The CNS was also able to recruit more muscle. Now, I don't know what the HIT warm up protocol is like, or of there even is one, but this "lag time" that the CNS needs to find the right groove is why one set to failure is not optimal. And another thing - training a movement more frequently causes the CNS to "remember" the movement which means that there will be less of the lag time in future workouts. HIT, with its recommendation of infrequent training, actually discourages this neurological adaptation. You know what's really funny? When a HIT Jedi experiences a bad workout because their squat or bench technique was "off," they interpret this as being "overtrained" and actually go take a longer layoff.
This is exactly the opposite of what they need to do, which is more frequent sessions of bench and squat to practice technique and hone the groove. This is probably why HIT Jedis like to use machines so much - none of that nasty technique to get in the way of your workout.
There is no advantage to failure training. In fact, for those seeking strength, failure training can be counterproductive. "Balls to the wall" is pretty subjective. Doing 10 sets of 3 with a weight you could do for 5 reps may not seem like "balls to the wall" during the first couple of sets, but sets 8, 9, and 10 will be very tough.