The Supreme Court ruling on the Hamdan case that captured terrorists are subject to at least some of the Geneva Conventions is simply appalling. Andy McCarthy covers the problems with this ruling (prior to the actual ruling even) exceptionally well here. I agree that this is a power grab by the court, though not being a lawyer I cannot really argue the ins and outs as he can. Even so, there are several non-legal points this ruling brings up.
First, this is a perfect example of why I do not believe we will be able to stop the chaos that is spreading throughout the world (as written here). How are we to defeat terrorism in the long run when the highest court of the greatest nation on the planet cannot see a terrorist as a terrorist? Fighting evil requires some amount of dirty activity. We cannot win by being nice and humane to the most evil men we face. Machiavelli argues that to bring peace and stability to the world, you must be half man, half beast. The reason is that there will always be men in the world who are all beast and who cannot be defeated by humane men. By being entirely humane, you merely pave the way for their victory. If we keep going down the path we are going we will soon find out how true that is.
Secondly, on the Geneva Convention, those arguing that we should grant its protections to terrorists because we do not want our troops being mistreated are severely misguided as to its purpose. Its purpose is to guarantee that soldiers who follow the rules of war are somewhat protected if captured. As a punishment, those who do not follow the rules are not protected. The rules of war make it more difficult to fight, so if we give everyone Geneva Convention protection regardless of whether they follow the rules, then why should anyone follow them? For example, during World War II, we often shot surrendering Germans because they, or their unit, had not followed the rules (such as S.S., concentration camp guards, Germans who would shoot immediately before surrendering, etc.). As an aside, despite our fealty to the convention, when have our captured soldiers been treated according to the rules anyways?
The only good that can come from this outrageous ruling is if it galvanizes the Republican base to ensure the Republicans pick the next few Supreme Court nominees. It is obvious this ruling is bad as anytime Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid are all ecstatic (as they are following this ruling) something that is not good has just happened to our country. As for the Supreme Court's behavior, I think it was summed up best by Richard Nixon’s head in the T.V. series Futurama, “Well I know someplace where the Constitution doesn’t count for diddley-squat, the Supreme Court!” So true and so sad.