Well, there is certainly a valuable discussion to semantics, so I can see why folks would say that. However, that the homonym "ai" (love) is even discussed, i think, points to an undeniable intended aspect of Ueshiba Aikido.
Or else to a horrible mis-translation perpetuated by non-Japanese speakers.
Sorry, but if we're going to talk about Ueshiba Sensei's actual intent, we simply MUST consider what the words he used actually mean in Japanese. The Japanese meanings may or may not be relevant to *your* aikido, but they certainly were relevant to *his.*