I would say that the combination of both of those positions would be the ultimate achievement. Aikido is a martial art. It is the "gift" of aiki that can allow us to sustain that philosophy when attacked. Gold-leafed clowns who wax poetic about pretty philosophies, yet do not have the skills to remain alive to wax poetic when attacked just end up in Uncle Darwin's playground. The Aiki that O'Sensei represented enabled him to be able to wax poetic about what ever he wanted to while remaining safe.
clowns and evolutionary male relatives aside, I agree with your position.
The vast majority of aikidoka worldwide, however, do not have Ueshiba's aiki, some are working towards it the best they can, some may achieve it, many wont. However, most are able to grasp the philosophy behind the art. Which has to be positive. Many students of aikido (my own included) would probably not fare that well under combat conditions. That is not what they practice aikido for. Why do we teach aikido to children, to those not in physically good shape and to the 'older' student?
Aikido- for me at least - is not just a martial art.