The Grey Lady treats us to this lengthy report on the Pentagon's efforts to recruit "independent" analysts to network news (most frequently Fox, but all the broadcast networks are guilty) from the ranks of retired military officers, who turned out to be little more than shills working for contractors or lobbyists seeking to expand their own influence.
The coordination efforts described in the Grey Lady piece do make it sound like the retired generals, colonels, et al. were often little more than Administration marionettes.
But that seems a little unfair. They were but one piece of a vast public relations campaign, that, as the Grey Lady observes, was designed to replace the "media filter" (i.e. journalists are supposed to have bulls*** detectors on) with "media amplifiers". Those who keep misunderestimating the current Cheerleader-in-Chief forget that he comes from a culture of used car salesmen-- effective used car salesmen. The whole war on terror operation (including and especially Iraq) is just that: a massive p.r. campaign. Image over substance. Always.
And it wasn't just the broadcast media that swallowed this (as I often point out, the Grey Lady herself is not without sin, here), but, of course... Congress (and yes, yes, yes, I do mean you Hillary.) And despite the bulls***, a huge part of the American people (and without doubt, the overwhelming majority of people here in New York-- your constituents, Hillary), opposed what the Bush Administration was doing-- our bulls*** detectors were on.
Then again, unlike the "military analysts," we didn't have access to key officials and fat Pentagon contracts on the line, now did we?