Actually, this is pretty shrewd. Superficially, Bush gets to come clean about the CIA prisons and act benevolent in granting this piece of filth POW status in one fell swoop, but what he’s really after is putting public pressure on Congress to approve military tribunals, not full courts-martial, for detainees. It’ll be a lot harder for the House and Senate to grant full due process protection to Al Qaeda prisoners now that one of the potential beneficiaries is the mastermind of 9/11 himself.
The fact is, the Supreme Court made this decision for him. He’s trying to salvage from it now whatever he can.
Update: I’m the furthest thing from an expert in the field of Geneva law, but I believe Rusty’s right: they’re not being given full POW status, only the same Article 3 protections that were granted to the Gitmo detainees in Hamdan.