That phrase "pre-9/11 mindset" gets thrown around a lot, in conservative neocon circles especially. Well, here’s a clear view of John McCain’s pre-9/11 mindset, from a 1998 Mother Jones interview:

You not only have had combat experience in Vietnam, but you were also a prisoner of war. When you look at terrorism right now, with people like Osama bin Laden, do you have any reservations about watching strikes like that?

You could say, Look, is this guy, Laden, really the bad guy that’s depicted? Most of us have never heard of him before. And where there is a parallel with Vietnam is: What’s plan B? What do we do next? We sent our troops into Vietnam to protect the bases. Lyndon Johnson said, Only to protect the bases. Next thing you know…. Well, we’ve declared to the terrorists that we’re going to strike them wherever they live. That’s fine. But what’s next? That’s where there might be some comparison.

Interesting, isn’t it? Well, what do we do next, Sen. McCain? Ready to spill your "secret plan" yet?