I had similar thoughts regarding the use of the Prime Directive in this book. I'm not in the camp of those who think the Prime Directive is stupid. I think in essence, it's a very good idea and I can even see why they wouldn't prevent meteor strikes - if someone had prevented the meteor strike that supposedly led to the extinction of the dinosaurs, there's no telling how the evolution of life on earth would have continued. It's similar to the problem Phlox and Cpt. Archer faced in Dear Doctor
, I guess. Now, there are cases where it becomes borderline but in this case it seemed pretty clear that the Prime Directive shouldn't apply because it's another race destroying the planet. Isn't this one of the things the Federation and Starfleet is supposed to do? Watch out for those who can't and protect less developed peoples?
Maybe the Federation subscribes to the idea of 'macro evolution' as mentioned in the Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained
duology by Hamilton where the Silfen, an elf-like race, say they won't interfere on humanity's behalf because their idea of evolution also includes more advanced species eradicating lesser ones. If you look at the development of wild life on earth ever since humanity grew large they sort of have a point that it's part of evolution, I suppose. But I think we can all agree that it shouldn't be like that. And we see Starfleet doing the opposite a number of times, especially in TOS.