Ueshiba was a religions cult leader near his death. He had built a following that looked at him like he was jesus. The problem was his top students were so much about what Ueshiba could do, that they lost sight of what he started out trying to do. Aikido was very hard when Ueshiba was young, but he got older and toned it down to fit with his new religious viewpoints. People like tohei latched onto those viewpoints and the concept of ki (one that from what I understand Ueshiba rarely talked about, only demostrated) and he helped water the art down even more (to meet closer with the goals of the old dead master).
I feel that most aikidoka belive that they can never be like Ueshiba, but they can pretend to be like Ueshiba. This is why they are so soft. I bet Ueshiba never told his students to not resist what he was doing (at least not until he was an old man). I do belive he knew exactly what he was doing as he got older, he was watering down his art and attempting to make it a component of his new found religion.
I dont blame current aikido teachers for watering down the art. I blame Ueshiba himself. The more I read about him the more I realized he destroyed his own art in an attempt to build a religion. Sure he may have accepted all challengers, he had too. But name one aikidoka sense him that has done the same.
The martial movments are still there for those who know where to look. Some of them have a lot of potential. I've even pulled off a few in judo and bjj class. Its just not worth looking when you could be spending your time working on the basics of juijutsu or some other effective art.
I make no excuses as to why I train aikido. I just find it fun and relaxing. It helps keep my ukemi strong, keeps me flexable, helps my timing and movement, and the guys I train with are great. But I dont think that when I stand strong with ki that I'm going to grab the end of a MMA fighters fist and throw a kotogeshi and armbar him for the win. Well not unless he gets sloppy with his punches. My teacher will tell ya, Ueshiba was a great fighter, but he didn't train aikido. He made aikido. If you want to be a great figther you are going to have to do the same, get out in the world and fight. As I get more focused on MMA competition I need more time to train and less time to hang out, so my aikido time may come to an end. But I will never regret the time I spent there or the things I learned. Aikdio has its uses as long as your not sucked into the Ueshiba hype.