Paladin is NOT french in the movie.
The Kilrathi in the movie were closer to the original idea Roberts had, plus, they were cheap. The movie had a very small budget, so taking the cheap route was required in some areas.
Most of their capships are pretty good, the Manta is better than a lot of the fighters we see in SO, the Squid would be a very effective fighter if the dumb AI knew how to use it effectivly. Same goes for the clustered ships.
The Confederation had resources, and a larger fleet when the Kilrathi attacked, but they caught us by surprise and quickly eliminated a large part of the fleet, and quite a few resources on the border worlds.
The reason Tolwyn did what he did after the war was his loyalty to the Confederation.
He saw the Confederation turning from a united race into the same state before the war started, and he belived he needed to keep it ready untill they faced the next enemy.