"I don't know why they don't just surrender"

Sometimes there's no temptation to comment on a news story.

NEAR NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - Burned-out vehicles and incinerated bodies littered a plain in central Iraq on Sunday after U.S. forces overwhelmed Iraqi militia fighters in a battle south of the holy city of Najaf.

U.S. armored infantry and tanks took control of the plain in the early hours of Sunday after a battle of more than seven hours against Iraqi forces who were armed with machineguns mounted on the back of Japanese pick-up trucks.

Najaf lies just 100 miles south of Baghdad.

On the main road running across the plain, burned-out Iraqi vehicles were still smoldering on Sunday afternoon, and charred ribs were the only recognizable part of three melted bodies in a destroyed car lying in the roadside dust.

"It wasn't even a fair fight. I don't know why they don't just surrender," said Colonel Mark Hildenbrand, commander of the 937th Engineer Group.

"When you're playing soccer at home, 3-2 is a fair score, but here it's more like 119-0," he said, adding that the Iraqi sport utility vehicles (SUVs) stood no chance against tanks.

"You can't put an SUV with a machine gun up against an M1 tank -- it's heinous for the SUV," Hildenbrand said.