The argument of the Marcus's would seem to indicate that the military and scientific "sides" of Starfleet did not always see eye-to eye, the scientific side wanting more labs on ships, the military wanting more phaser banks and photon torpedo stocks. The "kept the peace" line probably indicates that the two viewpoints reached a compromise that was acceptable to both.
No their argument was about Reliant coming to seize Genesis and whether Starfleet was using them to build a weapon of mass destruction or not.
Crazy Eddie wrote:
And even Starfleet's shooting wars have historically been resolved through clever application of science and trickery. We like to forget that the entire Dominion war was rendered basically irrelevant by Section 31's Changeling Plague and that the Dominion only surrendered in the first place because Odo offered a cure in exchange for a truce; if he hadn't, the Changelings would have simply died and the leaderless Jem'hadar and Vorta would have committed mass suicide.
Last time I checked biological warfare was still a military thing and this was carried out by a terrorist organization, and all the virus did was end the war without the Dominion going out in the blaze of glory.
Seriously what is it about people not getting that Starfleet was at the freaking doorstep. The war was pretty much over at that point the virus just made the Founders decide on fighting to the last man instead of just giving up.
And Starfleet got to that point through military tactics not using fancy science equipment.