Marc, I completely agree with the assertion that most of aikido waza is kata practice.
I don't think that this is a negative thing except in the circumstance where it is not acknowledged and used as a teaching tool to get to a deeper understanding of the thing (aikido) itself.
Unfortunately, many of the places I've trained deliberately state that aikido contains no kata and then immediately teach a specific technique and often specific version of a technique and ask everyone to practice it and seldom spent real time in 'formless' practice. I'm not really sure where the disconnect there is; perhaps it is in my own understanding.
In any case, I currently deliberately practice kata with the ultimate goal of being able to break free of kata having gained an understanding of principles and a set of body skills that I can apply in dynamic situations, and these goals inform how I train in kata.
I am in 100% total agreement with you. I frankly am amazed with the people that claim that our practice is devoid of kata. I was struck my a comment that Ushiro Kenji Sensei made once when he said that getting into seiza and rising from seiza are both kata. I do not think that there is necessarily a disconnect, but a lack of deep appreciation for what people are really doing. I think that this touches a deeper, more sensitive issue of the proper transmission of an art in a format that was designed for a the passing on of knowledge in more intimate and long-term settings.