Is Spain's Withdrawal Medal-Worthy?

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Generals don't usually get medals for organizing a retreat.

But in Spain they do, or at least the defense minister did. Jose Bono was recently given a medal for the role he played in pulling Spanish troops (search) out of Iraq.

As you may remember, Spain withdrew its troops from Iraq shortly after Al Qaeda killed nearly 200 people in Madrid. The terrorist bombings were timed to affect Spanish elections and many say they did, throwing out the party that supported the coalition in Iraq and bringing in the Socialists, who called for immediate withdrawal.

The Cross of Military Merit, which Defense Minister Bono was to receive for organizing the retreat of Spanish forces, entitles the recipient to wear a white sash and be addressed as, "Your most excellent lordship."

But Mr. Bono apparently won't get his sash.

The ruckus over his award intensified after a newspaper reported that Mr. Bono had arranged for the medal ceremony himself and had pressured cabinet members who opposed the decoration.

Last week, Mr. Bono returned the medal and the prime minister praised his defense minister as a man of "much sensibility."

And that's the Observer.