If Hitchens is truly serious about experiencing life on the business end of empire, we should arrange to break into his home in the middle of the night, force his family on the floor at gunpoint, yell at him in a language he does not speak, kick him a few times in the balls, hood him, and drag him off to a black site where the waterboarding isn't choreographed ahead of time (and no safety words -- he can save that for his dominatrix), with plenty of beatings, sleep deprivation, and sensory derangement mixed in (a long Waco-style audio tape would be a nice touch, complete with the screams of slaughtered rabbits). I'd say a good two to three weeks of this should suffice, and who knows, Hitchens might enjoy it. The DVD special edition box set of his ordeal (yours free with a year's subscription to Vanity Fair) would give his career added freakshow boost. And really, isn't that what it's all about?(Context here, in case you missed it.)
Just a tad ironic, isn't it, that the self-proclaimed keeper of Orwell's intellectual/ethical flame has to go through his own Room 101 experience to admit that – just maybe – the powers that be are not being entirely honest, and in fact may be employing euphemisms ("extreme interrogation") to conceal sordid realities ("torture")?
[Responding to Zach in the comments]:
And if the issue were rape, not torture? Would I still owe Hitch credit for denying reality until the prevailing political winds compelled him to cede that, yes, maybe it's a nasty thing, after all? Do you really have to be raped (under highly controlled and artificial circumstances) to admit that it's rape? Part of being an intelligent person is being able to understand certain truths without being (literally, in this case) beaten over the head with them.
There was never any ambiguity on torture. It's not a partisan issue and never was. The only people who asserted there were some grey areas were either naive, stupid, or corrupt. Which was Hitch?
And if you read Hitchens article, his "concession" is so filled out with pokes at straw-men lefties and assertions that both his torturers (and the people who support them) are noble, serious gents as to undermine the whole exercise. Really, what is the point of saying his interrogators are part of a "highly honourable group" and are "heroes"? Hitchens is at least smart enough to know that, where such crimes are concerned, the honour of the men perpetuating them is irrelevant.
So it's a stunt, and nothing more.
And if someone is wrong nine times in a row, he doesn't get double credit for being sort-of right the tenth time. In an ideal world, that person would lose all credibility, and would have to cede his place to someone who'd been right all along. (Doesn't work out that way, I know.)
Having said all this, I sincerely hope this is the start of a trend, and that more of Hitchens' empire-cheering gasbag friends sign up for Brubaker-esque stints in Gitmo, Saudi prisons, and CIA interrogation rooms at undisclosed locations around the world.