A lot of morons need to read Robin Higgins’ letter.

And as they decide the legal status of Taliban prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, President Bush and his staff need to read it, too.

The morons are journalism professors, civil-rights attorneys, and several international organizations parading as champions of human rights, who are legally challenging U.S. treatment of Taliban terrorist captives. Those groups include the European Union, the Netherlands (including Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Jozias van Aartsen), Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Retired Lt. Col. Robin Higgins, wife of the late U.S. Marine Col. William R. “Rich” Higgins, wrote a must-read letter in Friday’s USA Today.

Col. Higgins was captured by Islamic terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon in 1988. Hezbollah – the third largest component of bin Laden’s al-Qaida network, according to the Wall Street Journal – proudly displayed his hanging beaten body. Years of repeated brutal torture resulted in his July 1990 murder.

Where were these intellectual-elite lights of our world when Col. Higgins was being tortured by al-Qaida’s Hezbollah? Where were Amnesty International, the Red Cross, Europe, and the U.N. – for whom he was employed as a peacekeeper in Lebanon? Not a peep. Ditto for their deafening silence over kidnapped Beirut U.S. Embassy-based CIA Chief William Buckley, transferred by Hezbollah to Iran, and similarly tortured and bludgeoned to death.

The only parties Mrs. Higgins did hear from were U.S. State Department and other government officials who insisted her husband – unarmed as a U.N. Peacekeeper – was not a prisoner of war, but merely a detainee, not entitled to any human rights or their help.

Where was former Attorney General Ramsey Clark when Col. Higgins was treated worse than an animal by the sadistic animals of al-Qaida’s Hezbollah? Too busy sitting that one out because it didn’t fit his radical anti-American agenda the way Taliban prisoners do. Amnesty International and the Red Cross? With their selective, disgustingly political “commitment” to human rights, Higgins somehow wasn’t worthy of their support.

But under the Geneva Convention, the Taliban prisoners aren’t POWs, and Col. Higgins – who wasn’t treated so – was.

POWs are defined as soldiers who wear uniforms, carried their weapons openly, have a recognized hierarchy, and subscribe to the international norms of warfare.

The Taliban fighters match none of this. Can someone please describe the uniform of Taliban soldiers – other than filth, vitriol and disdain? As for their weapons, they often hid those like cowards, unless you count the teeth they often bare to bite people. Flying planes full of innocent people into buildings and cutting off the feet of women whose ankles were exposed – that’s hardly an international norm of warfare, as much as they’d like it to be. There was hardly an orderly identifiable Taliban hierarchy. With Mullah Omar running things at bin Laden’s behest, per Ayman el-Zawahiri’s instructions to him, it was more like a junta gang of a few – at the top, propagandizing a lot of lethal thugs who decapitate, amputate, torture and bite – at the bottom.

Contrast that with Col. Higgins. This man was a hero and an outstanding American, withstanding years of torture and losing his life to protect the very Lebanese and Palestinians who repaid him thusly. He was one of seven U.S. Marine Corps officers assigned to the U.N. Peacekeeping Force in Lebanon in 1987. “He wore a uniform, had a recognized hierarchy and subscribed to the international norms of warfare – although as a United Nations peacekeeper, he was unarmed,” Mrs. Higgins wrote.

Besides further disgracing this country and Col. Higgins’ memory, there is absolutely no reason to give Taliban prisoners any more rights than they have already been generously granted. The only reason they were kept alive and brought here is to get information out of them about other terrorists and possible attacks. To ascribe to them POW status would defeat that purpose. Under the Geneva Convention, the prisoners would only be required to give us their name, rank and serial number, and no further information. As detainees, they don’t have that right and others. But still more rights than Col. Higgins ever got under their terror network’s “authority.”

Taliban prisoners are treated better here than people in their own country – or surrounding Communist Cuba. They are receiving three square meals a day, medical care, clothing, shelter, showers, Arabic translators, mail and the right and opportunity to pray five times a day to Allah to destroy America. The very fact they are receiving any of this is an abomination and perversion of the memory of Higgins, who was given none of these things during his years of torture at the hands of their ilk. And who had none of the worldly “human dignity” champions that these murderous thugs now enjoy – even while they try to bite and murder our personnel at the temporary prison.

“I know that even as he was dying of torture, abandoned by the Red Cross, and the United Nations, he thought of himself as a POW. I’m also sure he thought his country did, too,” Mrs. Higgins laments. The terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba are not POWs. Col. Higgins was.

That he was treated otherwise is disgusting. That others would champion the rights of his tormentors’ buddies is doubly so.

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