FASA had an instance of the first Starfleet captain being held accountable under the PD. He came across a primitive world whose two major powers were about to destroy themselves through war, and he used his starship's weapons to destroy theirs so that they wouldn't annihilate each other. Starfleet ultimately found him guilty of violating the directive and took his command, even though they acknowledged his sentiments were good.
Great....save the whales but not a civilization. This is like the Marie Antoinette mentality of "let them eat cake" or like the rich, power business man avoiding homeless people and saying, "let them rot".
I tend to agree with you, though. While there are certainly circumstances where it would be be best to avoid direct contact or interference with a more "primitive" culture, it wouldn't be entirely avoidable or undesirable. The Capellans from "Friday's Child" would certainly fit into such a category, and yet they were valuable trading partners to both the Feds and the Klingons because of their minerals.
With Starfleet, their mentality is "let them all rot, but if they got something we want/need, well.....they are worth helping/saving now
. Only when it's convenient to Starfleet will they do the right thing.
Captain: You mean let the entire race die?
Captain: That's horrible!
Starfleet: They are going to die a painful, horrible death, but at least we did not ''contaminate'' their culture.
This is why I liked Pulaski in the second season of TNG, she openly criticized the almighty
The Prime Directive is, to me, just another way of keeping less advanced beings from being possible competitors/rivals in the future. And I am sorry, but giving an oath to give one's life for a policy that pretty mean seals the fate of an entire world and its people, and deeming it unworthy of either a future or contact, simply because they have not achieved faster than light travel....that's bullcrap. I mean look a tthe episode, "First Contact", that race HAD or at least was going to have faster than light travel, but the government in charge flat out DENIED official contact with the Enterprise, and cancelled the warp project, simply because some
screwballs in the government felt they were not ready or that the old beliefs/values were going to end, that's not a natural thing, the prevention of first contact was ARTIFICIALLY caused....(stuff like that's happening today)...I'd love to see an episode or story where Starfleet is dealing with an unwilling government that's own interests are not that of the people of that world....that should not be a factor in first contact.....in fact, that would allow a natural development to occur.....since oppressive governments are no different than computers with megalomania.