Perhaps I may be forgiven for offering a more critical assessment of the critic and pundit.
Hitchens getting the Iraq War catastrophically wrong evidently had minimal impact on his celebrity. Of course, it's fair to ask: has anybody's career suffered from getting Iraq wrong? Has anybody's career prospered from getting Iraq right, other than maybe Obama for giving a single speech against it?
On the other hand, as a long-time Trotskyite critic of American imperialism, Hitchens' accomplishment in getting Iraq wrong was a singularly epic own-goal. It's almost as ridiculous as it would have been if Noam Chomsky had suddenly decided in the early 2000s that the single American foreign policy effort he would support in his lifetime would be stupidest one of all. Of course, Chomsky didn't get Iraq wrong, and he is deeply resented in the Washington Post-owned media for finally being clearly right. Hitchens did get Iraq wrong, and is a saint to the mainstream media.
It certainly helped that he kept shifting around -- moving to America, deciding he was ethnically Jewish, becoming a neocon, etc etc -- so he could keep picking up new audiences who hadn't been so exposed to his Traditional English Journalist shtick and who weren't bored with his writing yet. (Like some other neocons, however, he retained part of his Trotskyite faith well into his neocon years. Here is Hitchens' 2004 tribute to Trotsky in The Atlantic.)
Hitchens' long track record of sniffing out the current most lucrative ideological position in the Anglo-American journalism industry wasn't, so far as I can tell, driven by mercenary motives. He seemed sincere, but his underlying motivations for his ideological changes tended to be absurdly personal.
For example, Christopher's conversion from scourge to advocate of American imperialism was related to his sibling rivalry over his parent's affections that he waged with his level-headed brother Peter, who took after their level-headed father. In contrast, Christopher identified with his troubled mother, who killed herself in Cyprus. Christopher later discovered that their mother was about 1/8th Jewish, but solely through the female line, thus giving him a rabbinically orthodox claim to Jewishness. From the Jewish Telegraph Agency's obituary: "Despite his rejection of religious precepts, Hitchens would make a point of telling interviewers that according to Halacha, he was Jewish."
His brother Peter found this deduction about their mutual ethnicity to be eye-rolling. But this genealogical discovery helped grease the skids for Christopher's conversion to neocon invade-the-worldism.
Here is the remarkable 2005 transcript of the first meeting of the Hitchens Brothers after years of estrangement. As I remarked at the time:
I've pointed out that what might look like ideological clashes on the surface are often actually just rationalizations for ethnic clashes between extended families, but the Hitchens Brothers represent an interesting case of an ethnic clash between brothers within a nuclear family. Peter was the favorite of their English father, Christopher of their [slightly] Jewish mother. Christopher is still an atheist, but as Paul Johnson pointed out in his "History of the Jews," it's been common down through the centuries for young atheist intellectuals to become more focused on Jewish ethnic interests as they age, without necessarily becoming theists. The conversion to the ideology of neoconism of Christopher, who, despite his hatred of religion, has taken to dropping in to synagogues as he travels to express his ethnic solidarity, is a good example of this venerable tendency toward gerontocratic ethnocentrism.
P.S., from Cockburn's "Farewell to C.H.:"
I met him in New York in the early 1980s and all the long-term political and indeed personal traits were visible enough. I never thought of him as at all radical. He craved to be an insider, a trait which achieved ripest expression when he elected to be sworn in as a U.S. citizen by Bush’s director of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff.
That seems reasonable. Hitchens was a talented, energetic, clubbable fellow who wanted to be an insider and got what he wanted. So, he's worth studying to understand what is Inside these days.