I agree George. Although, I think you will further agree that this alone isn't enough. Against the proper opponent the aforementioned ability allows one to ascertain the the precise moment before they die, and there's more . . .
All of the terminology relating to timing, spacing, initiative, etc. (to the extent that people in Aikido are aware of such) comes from the sword. Go no sen, sen no sen, sen sen no sen, etc...
Weapons work is by far the best way to gain some understanding of the differences between these concepts. Yet, O-Sensei was quoted repeatedly as saying that it Aikido technique wasn't about timing. So, I think the progression in ones training should be to first understand the various manifestations of timing as used traditionally. We simply use the forms given to us by Saotome Sensei as a tool and investigate how changing the timing or initiative changes how everything works.
But eventually we should be trying to go beyond this, as O-Sensei stated. My current take on this comes from my time with Ushiro Kenji Sensei. He talks about your mind already being inside the attack before it even starts. So what happens to the whole notion of reaction time when you introduce the concept of "already".
Whereas this is best practiced with sword, it totally relates to empty hand as well. The issue with empty hand is that people don't really feel that one strike from the opponent will finish them, so issues of who moves first etc, don't quite seem so important. Put a knife in the opponent's hand and people totally change how they treat the interaction.
This is one of the objections I have to comparing mixed martial arts and Aikido. Aikido, in my opinion, is really a weapons based system in terms of all of its logic. If you do not train as if both of you have a weapon(s) then most of what we do doesn't actually make much sense. It certainly doesn't apply in the empty hand sport context very well.
As I've said before, if you gave the two opponents in the octagon knives, we would see an entirely different body type and mindset from what we see currently. So, in my opinion, taking the weapons out of Aikido removes most of the underlying assumptions from which the waza derive. Weapons training doesn't have to be on the par with the true weapons styles of the koryu to be able to teach these lessons but the quality of the weapons training needs to be better than it generally is. Most folks I encounter doing weapons work in Aikido are not training in a way that will reveal anything useful at all; they are blissfully unaware of these issues.
I am really lucky because I get to work with real swordsmen in my own investigations. Of course they are not allowed to show me what they are learning in their koryu practice but I get a kick out of it when I can push one of them hard and some move slips out in the heat of things. I just smile and point out that they just gave away another secret; they always look very embarrassed. They really are very good at not intentionally giving anything away that they shouldn't. Anyway, I have skilled partners to work with on these things and it makes a huge difference in what I get out of my investigations.