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Women’s History Museum Does Not Belong in Defense Budget

Women’s History Museum Does Not Belong in Defense Budget

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On October 11, Rengin Yusuf died.  

She was a mom, a warrior and a young Peshmergan fighter who died in battle against ISIS. According to Sandor Jaszberenyi’s piece in the Wall Street Journal, she was part of a brave group of women who are particularly successful in combat, due in part to ISIS’s belief that being killed by a woman fighter excludes one from the complimentary 72 virgins in Paradise. 

Rengin should be a feminist icon, but she won’t be. American feminists won’t like her brand of feminism. 

Besides taking a firm stand against Jihadists, she also didn’t buy into gender politics, asking before her death — along with her fellow fighters — to not be identified as “women Peshmergas” because as Jaszberenyi puts it, “a Peshmerga is a Peshmerga, or in Kurdish, ‘someone who confronts death.'” 

Contrast her idea of true feminist empowerment with the whiny “#banbossy” campaign and other phony feminist “battles” of the American left. 

The Left’s latest “cause” is the battle over Congressional approval for the commissioning of a National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) on the National Mall. The museum would join, according to Columbia College in Chicago, more than twenty other women’s museums around the country. 

The estimated cost for the NWHM is $300 to $500 million dollars for construction and untold millions each following year for operations. The acknowledged goal is for the museum to become part of the Smithsonian system, which received sixty-five percent of its funding from taxpayers at a whopping $805 million before the proposed NWHM’s addition. Fifty conservative women leaders signed a letter opposing the NWHM in its current form. 

Add to the discussion the decidedly leftist bent of the museum’s current board and website.  

Eight of the ten NWHM board members are liberal donors and/or activists. As a whole, their FEC reports record gifts to groups including pro-abortion EMILY’s List and Hillary Clinton. The website attached to the museum baldly favors a liberal jaundiced view of history. It trumpets future exhibits honoring women such as Planned Parenthood Founder and eugenicist Margaret Sanger and leftist anti-military activist Bella Abzug. Not only did Bella Abzug work to drastically reduce military spending, but she also said, and I quote, “I am not being facetious when I say that the real enemies in this country are the Pentagon and its pals in big business.”  

This is particularly ironic, considering that Congressional sources have indicated that the House and Senate are currently toying with a backroom deal in which the museum legislation will be snuck in to the National Defense Authorization Act. 

Women warriors do not serve in this nation to be viewed as a minority interest group. We are fifty-one percent of the population and won’t settle for a pat on the head. We are Americans and deserve to be fairly represented in every museum. 

But if we are wrong and the majority of American women want gender division, then at the very least the museum must fairly portray the philosophical diversity of American women on hot button issues like abortion and marriage. Unless the safeguards are added to the current bill language, the museum will predictably become a shrine to the Left’s view of feminism on our National Mall. It will serve to indoctrinate future generations in the Bella Abzug brand of feminism, not the Rengin Yusuf kind. 

Congress needs to stop playing identity politics. 

The NDAA is meant to authorize budget authority for our military and national security to ensure the safety of our nation and its citizens. It is not meant to make backroom deals for subjects without merit. If the National Women’s History Museum had any merit, it would stand on its own and would not need to be snuck in to a bill that is almost guaranteed to pass because we need national security – not a one-sided women’s history museum paid for at the taxpayer’s expense. 

Penny Nance is President and CEO of Concerned Women for America. Amber Smith is a former U.S. Army Kiowa Warrior helicopter pilot and air mission commander and veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. For more information visit www.OfficialAmberSmith.com


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