This is an online dictionary definition:
1. A strong military spirit or policy.
2. The principle or policy of maintaining a large military establishment.
3. The tendency to regard military efficiency as the supreme ideal of the state and to subordinate all other interests to those of the military.
So far, so bad.
But what about this quote from Thomas Friedman’s column in Sunday’s New York Times:
“Why do we all jump up and applaud at N.B.A. or N.F.L. games when they introduce wounded Iraq or Afghan war veterans in the stands? It’s because the U.S. military embodies everything we find missing today in our hyperpartisan public life. The military has become, as the Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel once put it, “the last repository of civic idealism and sacrifice for the sake of the common good.”
Maybe a fourth clause should be added:
4. In a society torn by partisan politics, the military may become the last repository of civic idealism and sacrifice for the sake of the common good.