I'm looking for an English idiom which is equivalent to:
Kalah jadi abu, menang jadi arang ("The loser be ashes; the winner be charcoal")
Actually, this is roughly translated. It's hard to translate Malay idioms into English because most of them don't even have overt subjects.
This idiom is about a stack of wood in a fire. The fire is symbolic of a fight and the wood could figuratively be understood as a group of people or a community who are fighting tooth and nails with each other. And when the fight comes to the end—or more metaphorically, when the fire ceases to burn—neither the loser nor the winner benefits from the fight. So they are both useless ashes and charcoal.
This idiom is used to refer to a group of people fighting without thinking of the consequences of their action, because after the fight, they won't get anything useful; rather, they'll end up being dead on their feet.
The context is quite simple: a group of people were fighting and they end up getting nothing but weariness.
Is there any English equivalent to this idiom?