well, Janeway also made decisions for her crew that she had no business making. She stranded them in the DQ. If she really believed in helping the Ocampa, she could have let her crew go home, then stayed behind to set the explosives on the array.
The Maquis were drafted, if you remember. They didn't sign on to be members of her crew, so she should have shown greater flexibility in making decisions involving them, since unlike her Starfleet crew, they weren't even there even somewhat voluntarily.
From their perspective, Janeway stranded them and then drafted them.
Actually, it was the Caretaker that stranded them, and many others before them (like the Equinox). Janeway didn't have to offer them help. She could have left them high and dry, but she didn't.
We can't assume that their attempt to use the Caretaker's array would have been successful or that the Kazon would have given them enough time to figure out how to do it.
Once the captains decided to cooperate, Chakotay committed the Maquis to Voyager when he crashed their ship into the Kazon ship.
I guess it's just a matter of perspective.
of course your argument assumes that the array attempt wouldn't have been successful because otherwise you can't argue that Janeway didn't strand them. You're arguing backwards: the array COULDN'T have sent them home, because Janeway CAN'T be responsible for stranding them.
Had they tried and then failed, then of course she wouldn't be responsible. But she blew up the array instead.
Moreover, it was a pretty clear PD violation. Take Voyager out of the equation, and the Kazon get the array and become a dominant power. Janeway influenced regional politics to a huge degree based on her own say-so.
My position is that we don't know if Voyager could have successfully used the Caretaker's array--for whatever reason--and so it is pure speculation what might have happened. They might have been successful or not. To assume they would have been successful is just as much of a guess as to assume they would have failed.
I don't see how my argument is any more backward than yours. You say that the array COULD have gotten them home and therefore Janeway IS responsible for stranding them. I'm just saying--maybe not.
I don't think it was a PD violation, at all. Here is what Memory Alpha says about it in their Prime Directive article:
"In 2371 (Stardate 48315.6), Captain Kathryn Janeway destroyed the Caretaker's Array to prevent the Kazon from using it aginst the Ocampa, even after Tuvok said "[destroying the array] will alter the balance of power... the Prime Directive would seem to apply". Janeway justified her action by stating, "We didn't ask to be involved...but we are." to prevent the bellicose Kazon from using thr array to dominate the surrounding region. It can also be argued that the Caretaker's actions made the Ocampa society so dependent that it retarded their society's natural growth and evolution to the point that their society was stagnate. By destroying the array, Janeway released the Ocampa from their dependence on the array and placed them back on a path towards natural, cultural evolution. Hence the Prime Directive would not apply in this instance. (VOY: "Caretaker")"