The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives defeated legislation Thursday to require the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq within nine months, then pivoted to a fresh challenge of President George W. Bush's handling of the unpopular war. The vote on the nine-month withdrawal measure was 255-171. Despite Bush's ability to sustain his vetoes in the House, as demonstrated last week, critics of the war insisted on challenging him again. "This war is a terrible tragedy, and it is time to bring it to an end," said Democratic Rep. James McGovern, leading advocate of the bill establishing a nine-month withdrawal timetable. "For four long, deadly years, this administration and their allies in Congress have been flat wrong about Iraq," he said.