^ First of all, I don't think the Vegas illustration works. Starfleet was open to the colony of the dangers on the frontier. Just because they didn't tell of the Shedai, which they didn't fully understand at that point, they were brutally honest about the dangers from the tholians and Klingons which should have been enough to convince a sensible person.
As to Starfleet invading the Omari Ekon and torturing the Shedai, I agree, those actions were flat out wrong. i defiinetly didn't support the admiralty in those actions. A lot of innocent people paid for those decisions while the people who authorized them got to grow old and die in their beds. No doubt that is part of the reason why Starfleet buried the records, to cover up their sins.
There is some of that. But the story was illustrating that sometimes hard choices have to be made in a tough universe that could care less about your black and white principles.
Because there were sigificant downsides to the opposite positions on all those decisions. And none of those decisions were made because those making them were bad people, delusional or cognizant of the facts. Sometimes bad decisions are made out of that, but that was NOT the case in this case.
They faced very tough situations with very tough consequences, whatever was chosen.
Nogura was a man put in a tough position. And he dealt with it the best he could, I daresay better than most.
Same with Reyes, who DID pay for his choices, including the ones some here would call the "right decision".
No, being a defender of your society out there on the ragged edge does not always allow you to be "nice". As wonderful as the TrekU is, it is also a place of danger, horror and death. Starfleet exists to put itself in harm's way, to stand on that wall and say, "They will not come for you. Not tonight. Not on my watch."
Nice doesn't always accomplish that job. Sometimes you have to be hard, and to make hard choices. If you can't do that...that's not the job for you.
Now, in those situations, there is the danger of going over the line. The intel Admiral ordering Quinn's assassination? I see no way to defend it, nor in any way that would be honoring the letter or the spirit of what Starfleet is all about. But again, I think the point of the Vanguard story was to show the DS9 way of looking at things. This ISN'T a utopia. As good as it is, the beings who run it and defend it CAN make mistakes, can make the wrong decisions. There is no point, or will there ever be a point, where the perfect society and the perfect people are "donė". It is always a work in progress.