The median answer is 500; the most common answer is zero. The numbers fluctuate according to whether the U.S. is thought of as winning, the number of enemy casualties inflicted, and, er…

Boettcher thinks partisan loyalties play a powerful role in shaping how people think about casualties.

“Casualty unacceptability is only somewhat related to the number of actual casualties,” Boettcher and Cobb said in a joint e-mail. “If you oppose the war, dislike President Bush, are a Democrat, would like to increase troops, would like to decrease troops etc… you may find casualties unacceptable without having any knowledge of the actual number.”

I’ve always wanted to ask Michael Moore how many Americans would have to die for us to atone for our many, many sins. How many casualties would an enemy need to inflict before he considered the scales “balanced”? Presumably there’s a number. Osama’s got one. Why not Mikey?