After nearly nine years, the U.S. military mission in Iraq has come to a formal end as U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recognized an "independent, free and sovereign Iraq" two weeks prior to the official Dec. 31 deadline for U.S. troops to leave the country. The following gallery is a photographic look back at the previous nine years of conflict, tragedy and loss throughout the war in Iraq.
It was a busy year around Washington, D.C., with the presidential election heating up, budgetary talks threatening to shut down the government, accusations and insults hurled in all directions and every now and then, something that didn't revolve around politics.
With championships won by the Packers, Cardinals, Bruins and Mavericks, possible lockouts and cancellations from both the NBA and NFL and a rejuvenated national interest in baseball, 2011 has been a year to remember, and how else to best remember the year than with the best photos from the past twelve months?
UPI photographer Stephen Shaver spends his time in China documenting the daily life, political events, natural beauty and many other elements of the rising global power. The following are select photographs from his many taken during 2011.
With yet another seemingly miraculous comeback, the Tebow-lead Broncos topped the Bears, Eli Manning and the Giants pulled off a comeback of their own to top the Cowboys and keep their playoff hopes alive and the Packers ran circles around the Raiders to remain undefeated in week 14 of the NFL.
Not all athletes make their way to the top by completely legitimate means. With the recent series of accusations against 2011 NL MVP winning outfielder Ryan Braun, and the fourth anniversary of the release of the landmark Mitchell Report on Dec. 13, 2011, take a stroll through cheater's lane.
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