Friends Helping FriendsMany people like the President because he’s such a tough guy. Just not with the right people, apparently. As gas prices skyrocket, and the Saudis make record profits, Bush walks around holding hands with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. Crude oil prices fell a tick after Bush got a small concession from Abdullah, but that’ll take weeks to show up in the numbers you see in the picture on the bottom.

In the top photo, Abdullah has Bush by the hand — a traditional gesture of trust and friendship among Saudis. But shouldn’t our President have his hand somewhere around the Saudis’ testicular regions? The U.S. is helping to prop up this corrupt and barbaric dictatorship, and we pay them billions in cash and military protection for the privilege.

During the administration of Bush the Elder, there were proposals to increase vehicle fuel efficiency standards over a 10-year period that would have insured America’s energy independence from unstable regimes in terrorist-producing corners of the world. But the administration of Bush the Elder, many of whom were clearly interested in high-paying jobs in the oil business (e.g., Dick Cheney leaving the Defense Department for oil services firm Halliburton), saw to it that energy independence efforts were quashed.

Now, Bush the Younger is touting energy independence, not through efficiency, but through less dependence on fossil fuels (well, except for coal. Oh, and we need to build more refineries. Yeah. And nukular, er, nuclear. Lovely.

Our lack of energy independence is exactly why we find ourselves mired in the Middle East, beholden to despots, and targets of terror. It’s in our vital national security interests to be energy independent, but its not a problem that we can drill or mine our way out of. Energy independence requires a holistic approach, from energy efficiency to real transportation alternatives.

Until the Republican leadership — which controls two of the three branches of government — understands those facts and acts upon them, their negligence gives aid to our enemies and abets our national insecurity.