The Section 31 gambit had a serious risk of backfiring: if the Dominion had a record of committing genocide even against merely rebellious species, what would it do to civilizations that were responsible for an attempted gencide against the Founders themselves?
From what I saw of S31 in DS9 they didn’t strike me as “reckless”. Cold blooded, yes, but they do
think things through. As Bashir said to Sloan in episode “Inter Arma…”: “This war isn't over and you're already planning for the next!”
. I’m sure S31 had access to the analysis the Jack pack made of the Dominion War in “Statistical Probabilities”. According to that analysis the odds were completely against the Federation and the best option was to surrender in order to survive and fight another day. I have no military training but from what I read and watched on tv and movies, there’s a “tactic” that when you’re up your neck, with nowhere to go, no hope of rescue or reinforcement, and the enemy is not going to spare your life even if you surrender, you may as well attack and hope to take a couple more of enemies lives before you go down. So, S31 went for it.
And what if the Dominion retaliated? They were already decimating Starfleet and civil populations in both the Gamma and Alfa Quadrants!. What else could they do? Make fun of Starfleet uniforms to hurt some feelings?
I agree that If you take S31 to a court of law I’m sure not even OJ Simpson and Zimmerman’s lawyers can set them out (or maybe they can…). The point is: S31 believe they
are the “good guys” and their cause is justified. That kind of belief and commitment to a cause is a force to reckon. We saw it in the genocide of the Aztecs and Maya civilizations by the Spanish crown, and the colonization of Africa by Germany, England and France . Heck! Even the Borg didn’t think they were the “bad guys”. They were just bringing order to a chaotic universe.
And we are not sure how S31 is organized but if it’s anything like the Drug Cartels or Al Qaeda, you haven’t finished writing your press release about capturing “the head” when the replacement is already sipping champagne and celebrating the promotion.
I gotta tell you, if TPTB ends S31 by capturing their “headquarters” and finding all their secrets lying around in the coffee table I would be VERY
disappointed, because that would mean Arthur Andersen made a better job destroying evidence linking them to Enron than a 200+ years extra legal organization!!!