I know a lot of people compare the two (my father included who was in europe during WWII). I personally see big differences.
During that time, the US was minding their own business. These other countries were begging us for help. Out of the goodness of our hearts, we joined the effort after pearl harbor.
The current "conflict" is quite different. Israel has already said they do not fear saddam, and they are the only ones his weapons might be able to reach. Iran, who hates iraq, has said they don't want us to attack them. Turkey, eqypt, Saudi arabia, pakastan and other muslim countries as well has the euoropean people don't want us to attack Iraq and they would have the most to gain from a weakened Iraq.
The idea that the whole world is wrong and we are the only ones who are right is the sort of arrogance that is turning even some of our european friends against us.
Your friends in their 70's were brought up in a time when this country's leaders had some integrity. they still have that blind faith which is charming, but very dangerous.