Lol. Its been a long time since I posted. It definitely seems that the arkenpliers permit a subject to be brought back as their former selves with the addition of a strong compulsion/thinkamancy.
To be truly honest, I don't know whether this is evil (in the moral context of erfworld). You see, heres the rub. In order to have peace, true lasting peace on a global scale, the entire world would have to be united under one banner (whether one nation or closely allied nations really doesn't matter for this purpose). In order for that to take place, something would have to hold all of these nations together. Even here, as it was stated a long time ago, nobles from a given side can break off and form their own nations, which will eventually start the cycle of wars all over again. Also, there are apparently naturally conflicting sides, such as gobwins and marbits, barbarians, elves and hobgobwins, and so on.
So, one way to have all of these naturally conflicting sides live in perpetual peace would be to either take away their impulses for ambition, species emnity (royal vs. non, elf vs. gobwin, etc) and so on to the point that they are no more than drones. The other alternative is to instill a compulsion towards following a particular person or side so strong that it overrides other desires. THAT, that is what the arkenpliers do. The units are apparently the same people underneath that compulsion. Ansom's internal thoughts indicated that his feeling for Jetstone and Jillian were overshadowed by his feelings for the arkenpliers wielder, not that he no longer cared for Jetstone or Jillian. He also still has his views on honor, and is capable of believing that his superiors (Parson, shortly after Ansom was decrypted) can make poor decisions.
We still agree on something!
So, it is plausible that the arkenpliers could be used to take over and change the world. Assuming that Wanda doesn't age (complete unknown, but units have been known to last hundreds of turns at the least), she could decrypt the whole world and there could be perpetual peace and a partial measure of free will. Also, there is no evidence whether or not killing Wanda would destroy the decrypted. Maybe, maybe not.
So, there you are. Complete free will and war vs.partial free will and peace. Take your pick. Oh, and keep in mind: if natural thinkamancy is anything more than talk, regular units may not have complete free will regardless, and decrypting just makes it more evident.