I'm not disputing your choices in the least. I'm only saying that I think it's a bit of a fallacy (well, no, a whole lot of a fallacy) to believe that aikido training allows one to do less damage to an attacker, for all practical purposes.
I've been having a good long look at the whys and wherefores of practicing Aikido leading up to my shodan grading. I fervently believe that it was the choice
in Aikido that led me away from other martial arts.
I had a confrontation with my father, an ex-soldier, that at the time left me with an option of getting pummelled or doing him a severe injury (I had been training in Kyokushin for quite some years at this point). It appalled me afterwards that I could only defend myself by hurting my attacker.
After practicing Aikido, one truth I have begun to understand is that now I at least have a choice
as to whether to injure an attacker, it is no longer a given.
I agree, and in some ways am thankful, that various techniques that we practice in Aikido can be devastatingly powerful and could potentially lead to a significant injury to an attacker, but I also think that the mindset and the application set it apart.
Sure, I can do kote gaeshi and shatter an opponents arm, or irimi and slam them head first into the ground, but thats not what I'm intending, nor is it the reason I see Aikido the way that I do.
Everyone has their own decision to make at the time (and I must admit that Marlon makes some good points in his initial post). Everyone has their reasons, everyone learns what they want and how they want, and everyone applies what they've learnt within their own boundaries and values. And therein lies Aikido....