- Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Making treaties to prevent Mutually Assured Destruction in case of a war is bad (although expanded to "applying those treaties to half-ass the search for total peace" makes it less so).
- Harsher in Hindsight: The message about the dehumanizing effects of computerized warfare was haunting enough in 1967, when the computer was still in its infancy. Today, with things like UAVs and computer-guided missiles becoming indispensable parts of modern warfare, it hits harder than ever.
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: And Kirk drops several of them in his climactic speech.
- War Is Hell, or more accurately, war is supposed to be Hell, so that people will be less eager to start it.Death, destruction, disease, horror. That's what war is all about, Anan. That's what makes it a thing to be avoided.
- Treating wars with a completely dispassionate attitude makes them easier to cause and perpetuate.You've made it neat and painless. So neat and painless, you've had no reason to stop it.
- As annoying as diplomacy can be, it is preferable to war....the instinct can be fought. We're human beings with the blood of a million savage years on our hands, but we can stop it. We can admit that we're killers, but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes. Knowing that we won't kill today.
- War Is Hell, or more accurately, war is supposed to be Hell, so that people will be less eager to start it.
- Values Resonance: One of the most chillingly successful cases of it in the show's history, as it can be a bit hard to believe this wasn't made as a direct criticism of our current drone warfare. According to screenwriter David Gerrold, the computer tallies of war dead in this episode was a statement about Vietnam War deaths that began to be registered on nightly newscasts in 1967.
YMMV / Star Trek S1 E23 "A Taste of Armageddon"