‘Nobody wants to talk about it’: Senate remains idle as Afghan war lurches on

But the war in Afghanistan is not top of mind for many senators these days, who are consumed with end-of-the-year budget agreements, evaluating the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement and preparing for an impeachment trial.

But even in July, senators asked no questions about the war to Mark Esper, President Donald Trump’s pick for Defense Secretary.

Some Democrats on the committee have called for additional hearings on Afghanistan, such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who wrote a letter to the chair and top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee asking for a probe.

“The committee owes it to the American public to hold hearings to examine the questions raised by this reporting and provide clarity with respect to our strategy in Afghanistan, a clear definition of success, and an honest and complete review of the obstacles on the ground,” she wrote.

Another Democrat, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, called for Esper and other top national security officials to testify before the Senate.

“What has been said privately must also be said publicly,” Blumenthal wrote on Twitter.

Republicans, for their part, say that aid should be monitored more closely.

“We know that there was considerable waste and this is what the American people get really upset about,” said Sen. Joni Ernst, who added that “additional oversight” was needed. Ernst noted that independent oversight agencies have helped provide reports to Congress, but “that it would be great to have another briefing.”