I read this in the collection Looking For Jake. Mieville is well-known as a socialist and anti-imperialist, and really outspoken in his criticism of Blair and UK involvement in the Second Iraq War. It looks like it was originally published in 2004, which would have been early in the Second Iraq War.
The "black and black-red clouds that the earth vomits" mentioned early in the story must tie back to the oil wells set on fire by Saddam Hussein's retreating forces.
I definitely remember Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. I was a senior in college. A few months later, I had graduated and took a job as an Army civilian engineer. I reviewed several After Action Reports and we made recommendations for system improvements based on those and meetings with soldiers who'd been there. I've subsequently worked on most of the vehicle Mievilles mentions: M1 Abrams, M2 Bradley. Not so much on ACE, but on a smaller air-transportable combat bulldozer, DEUCE.