Some people cite this episode as yet another case of Kirk flouting the Prime Directive, and I suppose that in a way it is. I would point out, however, that he was unwilling to disregard Eminiar VII's warnings to stay away, only doing so under Ambassador Fox's orders. Even then, once he understood the situation, Kirk would have undoubtedly beamed back up to the Enterprise, told Fox to put a sock in it, and gotten them all out of there , if not for Anan 7 demanding that his crew be turned over for termination. Faced with the choice of allowing his crew to be killed or trying to put a stop to the whole fiasco, Kirk naturally takes the second option.
This is yet another reason why I prefer TOS to TNG... by the time Next Gen. rolled around, they had elevated the Prime Directive to a sort of holy precept, to be slavishly adhered to, no matter how ridiculous the circumstances. This led to episodes like 'Justice', 'Code of Honour,' and'Pen Pals' where the TNG crew's hand-wringing over possible Directive violations was, I daresay, supposed to make them look principled, but only succeeded in making them appear weak, impotent, and foolish.