Thà giết nhầm còn hơn bỏ sót

There was a Vietnamese political leader who said during the war, "Thà giết thịt nhầm còn rộng bỏ sót," which translates lớn "Rather kill mistakenly than lớn miss an enemy."

I"m wondering if there is a similar saying to capture the spirit. Sayings lượt thích "leave no stones unturned" or "spare no expense" seem a bit casual lớn me.

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Edit: Someone also commented about the phrase "Kill them all; God will sort his own". I think that"s also very fitting.


Another expression that may be on point here is shoot first; ask questions later. Martin Manser, The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs (2002) explains the sense of this proverb (which it gives in a slightly different form) as follows:

shoot first and ask questions afterward In certain circumstances—for example, when facing a potentially dangerous person or thing—it is safer not to lớn lose time weighing up the situation before taking action; often used in contexts criticizing such hasty or arbitrary behavior: "It struông xã her, too, that war seemed lớn have sầu made the people on that side of the ocean extremely ready with weapon. They would be quite likely khổng lồ shoot first & ask questions afterward—which would be too late to be helpful" (Mary Roberts Rinehart, The Amazing Interlude, 1918).

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answered Feb 22, 2021 at 4:08

Sven YargsSven Yargs
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Perhaps "Kill them all & let God sort them out." which actually has a much earlier source than I would have suspected, going baông chồng khổng lồ an incident in modern France in 1209.

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answered Feb 22, 2021 at 6:17

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There is an expression in called Blackstone"s ratio that expresses the opposite sentiment (it"s very well-known, even if people don"t always know its name):

It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.

Sometimes this aphorism is deliberately inverted lớn have sầu a meaning very much lượt thích the quote you"ve translated:

It is better that ten innocent men suffer than one guilty man escape.

Because Blackstone"s ratio is so famous in countries (& is supposed lớn be a foundational principle of the justice system in many of these countries), this inversion is usually not sincerely stated. It"s more often attributed khổng lồ others as a way of pointing out unjust or authoritarian systems. You could even replace "suffer" with "be killed" to more closely approximate the original Vietnamese quote & most would recognize the reference.

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answered Feb 21, 2021 at 20:02

Canadian YankeeCanadian Yankee
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If the OP wants an expression that is specifically, literally, about killing, then the answers already given are on point, particularly those that trace baông xã khổng lồ the Albigensian Crusade.

If, however, it is sufficient to convey a figurative sense of "doing something bad in order to lớn be safe", or "expeditious / pragmatic evil", then here are two that haven"t been suggested yet:

Better safe than sorry / It"s better khổng lồ be safe than sorryTypically this is used to lớn mean it is better lớn be cautious, not hasty, so that one does not make a mistake. However it can be used in the sense of being unjustly incautious, violating the rights or safety of others in order to protect oneself. Such a usage would be easily understood in truyền thông like films and đoạn phim games.

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It"s easier lớn ask forgiveness than khổng lồ get permissionIt is better to lớn expediently get done what you want, even if others will consider it wrong; you can offer an insincere apology later, after you have sầu benefitted from your actions.

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edited Feb 23, 2021 at 23:04
answered Feb 23, 2021 at 16:33

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"Kill "em all; let God sort "em out"

Possibly it originates with a Crusader commander (1209)

"Caedite eos. Novit enyên Dominus qui sunt eius.

...but for me the version goes back to lớn the US-Vietnam giới conflict that supposedly began during the JFK administration in 1961.

The first time I heard the version was from USN và USMC personnel returning from Vietnam in the 70s và doing re-training with us at GLakes and Bainbridge. Many were pretenders, but others had "walked the walk". Some of them even had shoulder flashes such as this from old uniforms.


It was an unofficial khẩu hiệu of MACV SOG. As far as I know the winged-skull was used by most most branches, but the flashes with the anchor were SEALs.

Later, I did some interviews (1990s) in Guatemala with some veterans (graduates of the Phoenix program), và as you can see the attitude prevailed ..

Paraphrasing from one & khổng lồ the best of my memory...

" We had intel that said there were some URNG guys habiting there. We got there before dawn, & set up SAWs at the east và west of the ville, but the fucking dogs started barking... My guys went in from the garita... with a lot of noise and commotion. ...villagers went running up the hillside into lớn the enfilade ...assholes never had a chance. I think we had a body-count of around 300, fuckin piece of art...guerilla?...who the fuchồng knows? ...let God sort it out..."

AFAIK, that particular engagement is still "under investigation". It is a matter of record that approximately 250,000 civilians lost their lives during the Civil War and genocide that lasted for almost 30 years in my country.

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And I found this on ThisDayinQuotes,com...

More recently, American troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan updated the saying again in the form: “Kill ‘em all. Let Allah sort ‘em out.”