McCain, again, has the nerve to lie about Iraq — and get away with it — which is exactly what we get when the media has relegated it to obscurity in this campaign. Tonight, it was in the course of attacking Joe Biden (after Barack Obama had the class not to point to Sarah Palin’s laughable “qualifications” for President of the United States, which was the question at hand).

So, in blasting Biden for being “wrong” on a whole bunch of foreign policy issues, or something like that, McCain says he was wrong for not supporting the first Gulf War (um, I think a whole lot of people are rethinking that one) and for advocating the separation of Iraq into three different “countries.” Not true. Biden’s ill-fated plan was about federations, sort of like the three-headed government in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which McCain has bragged in the last two debates he supported. Nevertheless, McCain said Iraq is now “unified.” Not true. Kurdistan is in no way a real partner in the federal government of Iraq and does not wish to be. In addition, 2.5 million Iraqis have been internally displaced — they have run to the safety of their own ethnic/religious enclaves, dividing themselves into three nations. Worse, they have been brutally, ethnically/religiously cleansed while we were supposedly there protecting/liberating/defending them. Not only did McCain’s “Surge” speed this along, its “success” depended on it.

Now, McClatchy tells us that only a fraction of the displaced are returning to their homes, and worse, those who are trying to are being targeted and attacked. Is this the “normalcy” that McCain told us about in the last debate?

Many Iraqi families have returned to their old homes in peace, but a disturbing trend already is emerging: They’re being targeted and attacked, and in some cases killed, for trying to go home. Some have been threatened. Others have found explosives tied to their front doors. Some have had their homes blown up.

The trend, along with an uptick in sectarian and ethnic violence in northern Iraq and growing tensions among rival Shiite factions in the south, is a worrisome development for American political and military leaders who’re increasingly eager to declare victory in Iraq so more U.S. troops can be sent to Afghanistan.

Furthermore, McCain says the Status of Force Agreement is “coming.” When, Senator? We’d like to know, seeing that the most recent reports indicate that negotiators are scrambling for some “alternative” — including going back to the United Nations! — because they are running out of time and there is, so far, no agreement. McCain is never called out on the fact that — to bring this agreement any step closer to fruition — the Bush Administration has already conceded on the timetable issue because the Iraqis want us out, no matter what McCain and his pals in Washington say about “victory” and “waving the white flag of surrender.”

Yet another debate with no meaningful debate about Iraq, home right now, to 140,000 of our men and women and countless American contractors, and still holding. There was only but a brief gesture to the issue and it was a fistful of lies.

UPDATE : CNN now reporting in its snap post-debate polling — among 40 percent Dems, 30 percent Republicans, the rest independents — Obama won by “substantial” numbers, 58 to 31 percent.