I can sum up the reason for this in one phrase: too little, too late:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush, under fire over the treatment of CIA detainees, on Friday ordered that agency interrogators comply with the Geneva Conventions against torture.Not only is this action in and of itself "too little, too late" in terms of helping shape what pathetic little legacy Bush hopes to salvage, but in point of fact, it describes the results of our activities under a program that ignored the Geneva Conventions.
Five years after he exempted al Qaeda and Taliban members from the Geneva provisions, Bush signed an executive order requiring the CIA to comply with prohibitions against "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" as set down in the conventions' Common Article 3.
Human rights activists criticized Bush's action, saying it did not go far enough to eliminate dangerous interrogation techniques.
In other words, the presumable tortures that occured led to no prevented terror attacks, no solid leads on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, and no measurable increase in homeland security.
How do I know this? Prima facie evidence: Bush gave the program up. Think about it. This a man who stubbornly refuses to admit any error in any part of his administration of this country, suddenly deciding that the Geneva Convention is a good thing? He's going to "coddle terrorists"?
Granted, he couldn't even get his hand picked SCOTUS to vet this theory of governance for him, which had to be a blow, but he certainly could have run out the clock and stand on his "principles"...not the most solid ground in any Republican administration, but nothing more than a pile of shale debris in the Bush years.
It's possible, tho unlikely, that Bush is running scared from the odd chance of a war crimes trial looming after he's out of office and so is trying to mitigate the damage. Even with a Democratic president in place, I can't imagine any US President would permit it, since it would open the door to any number of future trials for some fairly routine matters, like Bill Clinton being brought up on charges over the Kosovo conflict (remember, the charges wouldn't have to be proven to destroy US credibility, just brought to trial).
That's a scenario that plays out incompletely at best.
There really is no other reason for this grudging admission that the Geneva Conventions exist in the matter of the Afghani conflict, except to say the torture wasn't fruitful, and the time had come to wind down the operation. More terror attacks have been prevented by focusing on the domestic crime prevention methods that allowed the UK to stop the recent car bombings, and the US to prevent the pathetically amateurish attempts in the past two years.
Which is the way it should have been from the get-go, once we captured Osama.
Oh. Right. I forgot.