I hope I'm not to off skew here, but IMHO,
I think kata is needed, not only to learn the basic technique, but to also add an element of mental calmness, and or compassion, to balance the negative mental state associated with learning how do do harm to others. And of course it adds to the safety; because, I don't want to cooperate fully with some guy I don't really know, and who wants to practice randori hard for battle readiness, do you? If Aikido were practiced like that it would not be 1/1000 the popularity it is enjoying today. I do agree of course, like many of you that it takes a long time to be combat-sh ready in Aikido, and many lower ranks doing 98% kata training are kidding themselves if they think they are ready to take on bigger or multiple attackers like Ueshiba, or Kondo, or even a 3rd dan etc... So whats my point here? hell I don't know, but how else do you learn the moves of Aikido without both the basics, and safety net you get from kata?
"It seems we have a disconnect somewhere...I'll let it go at that."
Hey, cheers, no probs, but I would have proffered if you simply elaborated on what you meant, for I don't feel I responded to your post that absurdly.