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Despite the squabbling, analysts agree, as did Gen. McChrystal, that he committed a major blunder in opening up to a reporter.

“I am of two minds,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution. “Last fall, Gen. McChrystal took too much of the brunt of criticism for poor communications between the White House and the military that were not primarily McChrystal’s fault. So I am very sympathetic to him through that whole period.”

But Mr. O’Hanlon said that, after effectively winning the policy debate, the general and his staff needed to be “good winners and be charitable and collegial.”

“At least for the purposes of the magazine article, they failed to do so,” he said. “That is a shame, because McChrystal in particular is one of the most collegial, deferential and team-oriented generals I’ve known, and I think he was doing a great job in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, they made some major mistakes vis-a-vis Washington at a time when it’s particularly perplexing to understand why or how that was necessary.”

There was not much sympathy for Gen. McChrystal in the special-operations community, where he, as an Army Ranger, spent years in so-called “black operations.” His resume included running the supersecret Joint Special Operations Command, which he led in Iraq to hunt down al Qaeda terrorists.

Some in the field said they hope Gen. Petraeus‘ first step is to loosen the rules of engagement implemented by Gen. McChrystal, which limited air strikes, night operations and the destruction of terrorist safe havens. Gen. Petraeus may signal his intentions during confirmation hearings Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He appeared before the committee earlier this month to discuss Afghanistan.

“We get feedback periodically that troopers feel that they are being held back,” he testified. “We don’t want that to be the case. That is not the intent. The intent is very clearly just to reduce to an absolute minimum the loss of innocent civilian life, which in a counterinsurgency operation in particular can unhinge you.”

Gen. Petraeus, as head of U.S. Central Command, approved Gen. McChrystal’s war plan and troop number and generally gave him wide latitude to run operations the way he saw fit. That does not mean Gen. Petraeus, who ran what is considered a successful surge in Iraq, will not change tactics. He will arrive as NATO forces are assembling for major assaults in the Taliban stronghold of southern Afghanistan in late summer or fall, when the surge of 30,000 troops will be complete.

Mr. Gates, who was spared any criticism by Gen. McChrystal in Rolling Stone, appears open to change after Gen. Petraeus is confirmed.

“When he gets on the ground, he will assess the situation for himself,” the defense secretary said. “And at some point, he will make recommendations to the president. And that’s what any military commander should do. And the president will welcome those recommendations.”