Re: General order 24, were Kir kand Scotty bluffing?
We may not understand how their virtual war worked but it was their system and the only casualties are those ships that ignored the code 7-10.
The problem being that they didn't have some type of waiver system built into their war "treaty" to cover such an eventuality. Kirk would have happily left but was forced into settling their war for them because of it.
"If I hadn't tried, the cost would have been my soul." - Admiral James T. Kirk, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock