We all know the damage caused so far by the explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig in April: 11 workers killed, economic ruin across the Gulf Coast states, environmental ruin along the Gulf Coast itself. And efforts to stop the continuing undersea oil spill keep falling far short of the solution that’s desperately needed.

What went wrong? News reports have offered some insight, but early reports often contain information later proven inaccurate. Since we’re not on the inside of BP, we don’t have the benefit of accurate and complete information as to its ...