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Kathryn shook her head a little. ”On a personal level? Not in a million years. I hate the idea of her putting her life in danger like she is… Politically? It’s hard to say, really.” She replied.
”Hard how, exactly?” Mariah asked, still carefully.
”Exactly?” Kathryn considered her answer a moment. ”Alright, since you asked… Generally speaking, it’s easy to sympathize with both sides. I doubt very many people in the Federation don’t have at least some sympathy for them, whether they’d admit to it publicly or not. More specifically, on the one hand, the Maquis are clearly right that they have a legitimate grievance here – they got a bad deal when the peace treaty was signed. There’s no way you can deny it, reasonably. At least if you’ve been raised on Federation values.
”Regardless of the larger picture, regardless of whether they, you, made the right choice to stay or not, regardless of who started what, or what anyone’s intentions were going into all this, it’s hard to really morally justify that the Federation has simply abandoned our own to fight for their very lives out here, especially against an enemy that’s, by in large, notorious for lack of mercy towards their enemies. Being stubborn isn’t a crime, and it certainly shouldn’t be punished in a way that’s far worse than the punishment we give to our worst criminals.
”But then… on the other hand, of course, those same Federation values I mentioned also tell me very strongly that diplomacy is a far better option than war, and that, sometimes, compromise and sacrifice are simply the price of that. By not acquiescing to the terms of the treaty, it’s, in effect, creating a situation that could lead to a resumption of the war. Are the upset lives and livelihoods that would have been caused by abandoning these colonies worth the lives that would be lost and the sorrow and suffering that would result if the conflict here ignites another war?” She asked.
”A fair question, but…” Mariah shook her head. ”As you said, as a rule, Cardassians don’t have much in the way of mercy, do they? …How much appetite do you really think a people like that have for peace, Kathryn?” She asked.