I'm afraid to say that comparing The Exxon Valdez and Atlantic Empress incidents to The Gulf of Mexico well blowup is a bit like comparing lamb chops to bananas. Yes, they are, indeed, both food, but after that most comparisons between the aforesaid tanker spills and The Gulf disaster are either not worth making or simply don't exist. After all, The Exxon Valdez and Atlantic Empress spills, were just that, spills of some finite amount of crude. There is nothing finite about what is gushing from the bottom of The Gulf of Mexico.
Even the nature of the error, the circumstances of its occurrence, are considerably more complex than what transpired with The Exxon Valdez spill. We were able to determine fairly quickly exactly who was responsible for that one, but this mess doesn't even have a readily available name with which to attach itself because there are too many parties-the entire culture if one chooses to veer into the quasi-metaphysical- with red stained oil on their hands. As a result, this almost indescribable human &^%$ up is literally one which bears no name, and one whose widespread damage can not yet even begin to be calculated. Scared and/or disturbed yet? I know I am, because at every level our society operates, we are demonstrating that we either refuse (or lack the capacity) to adequately take the measure of this horrific event.