From what I see in aikido classes, the strikes are for setting up/distracting the other person. They would be usless to stop a real attacker. Don't fool yourselves.
The other stuff can work, but, please, don't try to punch an attacker - you're wasting your time!
I'd like to ask, what is your intent with the way you ask your questions. My humble opinion is you are trying to incite anger or defensiveness from those who train to avoid conflict, i.e. Aikidoka.
My sensei teaches atemi as part of the whole of Aikido, but don't fool Yourself, if he hit you, it would hurt. Depending on the style, or how a person was trained, atemi tend to either a. distract, as you have noted, or b. attack points along the chi, or ki meridians of the body causing numbness, pain, etc...which I suppose destracts as well.
I would recommend any of the sites on the net dealing with Kyusho. (sp?) or perhaps it is spelled Kyoshu, not sure, anyway, check it out, atemi, as well as Aikido, I have found, is an endless quest. As one layer is peeled off, it simply reveals more layers, more to learn. I have only been Studying Aikido for 6 months or so now, and I feel I have learned much. What excites me about it, is that there is obviously so much much more to learn.
Anyway, for those of you still with me, thank you for listening to me ramble on.
Peace all, Kenn