Originally Posted by kevin
Yes, you provided alternative options. It doesn't mean any of them would have been taken if proposed to the colonists. It just adds more options. Whether they would have led to a more peaceful outcome or less death would never be knowable.
The first option, leaving your colonies, would have led to precisely zero deaths.
It could have had vague political implications, the Cardassians might have perceived it as a sign of Federation weakness (unless the treaty was an implicit/secret "land for peace" contract in the first place), and this could have an indirect second round effect if it makes the Cardassians start a new war ... but this is extremely conjectural and ignores "hard" facts that influence a war like how much Galaxy class starships the UFP keeps near the border.
The second option prevents what occurred during the Maquis campaign: more Cardassian bullying in the colonies (now they have an easy excuse), more deaths in the colonies because of the bullying and your on-the-ground fighting and more deaths of Maquis who die in starship battles.
The Maquis become ready and willing to die rather than simply give up what's theirs. Sure, they can be called out for that instead of meekly walking away like they were told to. And it depends on your point of view what you think of that. But they stood up for what was their's at the end of the day. Even at the cost of their lives. And I guess there's a part of me thinks of them 'why do that?. And part of me answers 'That's why you'll never be Frontiersman'.
You just have to look at my signature to realize that I am very sympathetic to proper martyrdom. Jesus and MLK did not hurt a fly but they were ready to lose their life in their struggle. While the former is just a fictional-religious character and served mainly as inspiration for his followers the latter, one of his followers, has achieved real change for the better.
Killing the enemy because he killed you is not martyrdom or even courageous, it is just the reptilian part of your brain taking over and exercising revenge. If the mammalian part were in control you would realize that killing the enemy just makes the situation worse.